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E D M U N X ^ U < K E 

iir.itonsfirlTi UTtitioii 

Volume Thrbk 


Two Hundred and Fifty copies of the Bcaconsficld 
Edition of Edmund Burke's Works have been 
printed for Canada, of which this is No 









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TaIk Kicilif noiioiiiciblo 

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The Writings ^ Speeches of 



SPEECH <.n the A I^ .\1 Y I s '!' I M A 1" J. S 

i2 CO M I'.i N y, Limiud • M D C C C C I 


1 Is 

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Speech on the Nabob of Argot's Debts, February 28, 

1785 ; with an A^ipendix ...... 1 

ScBSTAXCE of Speech o» THE Arhy ESTIMATES, Febru- 
ary 9, 1790 211 

Reflections on the RBVOLnTiON in Fhancb 









The House occupied by the E&st India Company 

in Leadenhall Street, as refaced in 1726 . Frontispiece 

From * coloured drawing made in March, 1800, by I. Molton, 
in the India Office. B; PermiwioD of the Secretary of 
State lor India. 

Marie Antoinette 

Engraved Title 

From an engraring by L. Sctuavonetti, alter the painting by 
Edward Stroehling, 

The Right Honourable Richard Brinsley Sheridan Page 229 

From a drawing in crayon* made in 1788, by John Ruuell, 
R.A., in the National Portrait Gallery. 

Marie Antoinette 

From an engraving by Danguin, after the painting by Mme. 

Louis XVT. 

From an engraving i- the Britiah Museum by J. O. MiiUer, 
after a pai. ag from life by Dupleuii. 











0» TRB 

mnjiTirB to trb 




rXBRrART 28, KM. 



tmS fa n' wpirmv ix^r <>^pa thk U^inmt «al 'ApmorMovt (i)A«Ti)t' toyiii- 
mri Ipa npcopfv ivtfpwirovt aSAiovt rait rA<irTiu( iicliioiiivovf, ^ nri Svva)uw 
•vni< afiuMiv, oifiot, H( 4Si| T& nixntor it4imn tii to ttofiivlt ipyoffT^pioi' tw» 
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»pi» <tA<»Tat iy<ut>i{tvt<u Totovrovt* xai touto tdB 9tov miiuixoimt iuur, ivnf 

Jnuoi Bpbt 11. 














THAT tlio least aiformed reador of this speech may 
be enabled to enter fully into the spirit of the 
transaction on occasion of which it was delivered, it 
may bo proper to acquaint him, that, among tho prin- 
ces dopondout on this nation in the southern part of 
India, the most considerable at present is commonly 
known by tho title of tho Nabob of Arcot. 

Tliis prince owed the establishment of Ids govern- 
ment, against the claims of his elder brother, as well 
as those of other competitors, to the arms and influ- 
ence of tho British East India Company. Being thus 
established in a considerable part of the dominions ho 
now possesses, lie began, about the year 1765, to form, 
at tho instigation (as ho asserts) of the servants of 
the East India Company, a variety "f designs for the 
further extension of his territories. Some years af- 
ter, he carried his views to certain objects of interior 
arrangement, of a very pernicious nature. None of 
these designs could be compassed without the aid of 
the Company's arms ; nor could those arms be cm- 
ployed consistently with an obedience to the Com- 
pany's orders. He was thereforo advised to form 
a more secret, but an equally powerful, interest 
among the servants of that Company, and among 
others both at home and abroad. By engaging 
them in his interests, tlie use of tlio Company's 
power might be obtained without tlieir ostensible 









authority; the power might even be employed in 
defiance of the authority, if the case should require, 
as in truth it often did require, a proceeding of that 
degree of boldness. 

The Company had put him into possession of 
several great cities and magnificent castles. The 
good order of his afiairs, his sense of personal dig- 
nity, his ideas of Oriental splendor, and the habits 
of an Asiatic life, (to which, being a native of India, 
and a Mahometan, ho had from his infancy been 
inured,) would naturally have led him to fix the 
seat of his government witliin his own dominions. 
Instead of this, he totally sequestered liimself from 
his country, and, abandoning all appearance of state, 
he took up his residence in an ordinary house, which 
he purcl ased in the suburbs of the Company's factory 
at Madras. In that place ho has lived, without re- 
moving one day from thence, for several years past. 
He has there contmued a constant cabal with the 
Company's servants, from the highest to the lowest, 
— creating, out of the ruinr of the country, brilliant 
fortunes for those who will, and entirely destroying 
those who will not, be subservient to his purposes. 

An opinion prevailed, strongly confirmed by sev- 
eral passages in his own letters, as well as by a com- 
bination of circumstances forming a body of evidence 
which cannot be resisted, that very great sums have 
been by him distributed, through a long course of 
years, to some of the Company's servants. Besides 
these presumed payments in ready money, (of which, 
from the nature of the thing, the direct proof is very 
difficult,) debts have at several periods been acknowl- 
edged to those gentlemen, to an immense amount, — 
that is, to fcomc millions of sterling money. There is 




strong reason to suspect that the body of these debts 
is wholly fictitious, and was never created by money 
bond Jide lent. But cvcu on a supposition that this 
vast sum was really advanced, it was impossible that 
the very reality of such an astonishing transaction 
should not cause some degree of alarm and incite 
to some sort of inquiry. 

It was not at all seemly, at a moment when the 
Company itself was so distressed as to require a sus- 
pension, by act of Parliament, of the payment of bills 
drawn on them from India, — and also a direct tax 
upon overy house in England, in order to facilitate 
the vent of their goods, and to avoid instant insol- 
vency, — at that very moment, that their servants 
should appear in so flourishing a condition, as, be- 
sides ten millions of other demands on their masters, 
to be entitled to claim a debt of three or four mil- 
lions more from the territorial revenue of one of 
their dependent princes. 

The ostensible pecuniary transactions of the Nabob 
of Arcot with very private persons are so enormous, 
that they evidently set aside every pretence of policy 
which might induce a prudent government in some 
instances to wink at ordinary loose practice in ill- 
managed departments. No caution could be too 
great in handling this matter, no scrutiny too exact. 
It was evidently the interest, and as evidently at least 
in the power, of the creditors, by admitting secret 
participation in this dark and undefined concern, to 
spread corruption to the greatest and the most alarm- 
ing extent. 

These facts relative to the debts were so notorious, 
the opinion of their being a principal source of the 
disorders of the British government in India was so 

t sJ 





undisputed and universal, that there was no party, 
no description of men in Pariicment, who did not 
think themselves bound, if not in honor and con- 
science, at least in common decency, to institute a 
vigorous inquiry into the very bottom of the busi- 
ness, before they admitted any part of that vast and 
suspicious charge to be laid upon an exhausted coun- 
try. Every plan concurred in directing such an in- 
quiry, in order that whatever was discovered to bo 
corrupt, fraudulent, or oppressive should lead to a 
due animadversion on the offenders, and, if anything 
fair uid equitable in its origin should be found, (no- 
body suspected that much, comparatively speaking, 
would be so found,) it might be provided for,— in 
due subordination, however, to the ease of the sub- 
ject and the service of the state. 

These were the alleged grounds for an inquiry, 
settled in all the bills brought into Parliament rela- 
tive to India, — and there were, I think, no less than 
four of them. By the bill commonly called Mr, Pitt's 
bill, the inquiry was specially, and by express words, 
committed to the Court of Directors, without any re- 
serve for the interference of any other person or per- 
sons whatsoever. It was ordered that they should 
make the inquiry into the origin and justice of these 
debts, as far as the materials in their possession ena 
bled them to proceed; and where they found those 
materials deficient, they should order the Presidency 
of Fort St. George ( Madras) to complete the inquiry. 

Tlie Court of Directors applied themselves to tlio 
execution of the trust reposed in them. They first 
examined into the amount of the debt, which they 
computed, at compound interest, to be 2,945,600?. 
sterling. Whether their mode of computation, either 


of the original sums or the amount on compound 
interest, was exact, that is, whether they took the 
interest too high or the several capitals too low, is 
not material. On whatever principle any of the cal- 
culations were made up, none of them found the debt 
to diifer from the recital of the act, which assert- 
ed that the sums claimed were " very large." The 
last head of these debts the Directors compute at 
2,465,680Z. sterling. Of the existence of this debt 
the Directors heard nothing until 1776, and they say, 
that, " although they had repeatedly written to the 
Nabob of Arcot, and to their servants, respecting the 
debt, yet they had never been able to trace ihe origin 
thereof, or to obtain any satisfactory information on the 

The Court of Directors, after stating the circum- 
stances under which the debts appeared to them to 
have been contracted, add as follows : — " For these 
reasons we should have thought it our duty to inquire 
very minutely into those debts, even if the act of Par- 
liament had been silent on the subject, before we con- 
curred in any measure for their payment. But with 
the positive injunctions of the act before us to exam- 
ine into their nature and origin, we are indispensably 
bound to direct such an inquiry to be instituted." 
They then order tlio President and Council of Madras 
to enter into a full examination, &c., &c. 

The Directors, having drawn up their order to 
the Presidency on these principles, communicated the 
draught of the general lei " in which those orders 
were contained to the boaru of his Majesty's min- 
isters, and other servants lately constituted by Mr. 
Pitt's East India Act. These ministers, who had 
just carried through Parliament the bill ordering a 







specific inquiry, immediately drew up anothe: letter, 
on a principle directly opposite to that which was 
prescribed by the act of Parliament and followed by 
the Directors. In these second orders, all idea of an 
inquiry into the justice and origin of the pretended 
debts, particularly of the last, the greatest, and the 
most obnoxir us to suspicion, is abandoned. They 
are all ad tted and established without any inves- 
tigation wiiatsoever, (except some private conference 
with the agents of the claimants is to pass for an in- 
vestigation,) and a fund for their discharge is assigned 
and set apart out of the revenues of the Carnatic. 
To this arrangement in favor of their servants, ser- 
vants suspected of corruption and convicted of disobe- 
dience, tlie Directors of the East India Company were 
ordered to set thei*- hands, asserting it to arise from 
their own conviction and opinion, in flat contradic- 
tion to their recorded sentiments, their strong re- 
monstrance, and their declared sense of their duty, 
as well under their general trust and their oath as 
Directors, as under the express injunctions of an act 
of Parliament. 

The principles upon which this summary proceed- 
ing was adopted by the ministerial board are stated 
by themselves in a number in the appendix to this 

By another section of the same act, the same Court 
of Directors were ordered to take into consideration 
and to decide on the indeterminate rights of the Rajah 
of Tanjore and the Nabob of Arcot ; and in this, as in 
the former case, no power of appeal, revision, or alter- 
ation was reserved to any other. It was a jurisdic- 
tion, in a cause between party and party, given to the 
Court of Directors specifically. It was known that the 




territories of the former of these princes had lieen 
twice invad"'^ and pillaged, and the prince deposed 
and imprisoiied, by the Company's servants, influ- 
enced by tho intrigues of the latter, and for the pur- 
pose of paying his pretended debts. The Company 
had, in the year 1775, ordered a restoration of the 
Rajali to his government, under certain conditions. 
Tho Rajah complained, that his territories had not 
been completely restored to him, and that no part 
of his goods, money, revenues, or records, unjustly 
taken and withheld from him, wore ever returned. 
The Nabob, on the other hand, never ceased to claim 
the country itself, and carried on a continued train of 
negotiation, that it should again be given up to him, 
in violation of the Company's public faith. 

The Directors, in obedience to this part of the act, 
ordered an inquiry, and came to a determination to 
restore certain of his territories to the Rajah. The 
ministers, proceeding as in the former case, without 
hearing any party, rescinded the decision of the Di- 
rectors, refused the restitution of the territory, and, 
without regard to the condition of the country of 
Tanjore, which had been within a few years four 
times plundered, (twice by the Nabob of Arcot, and 
twice by enemies brought upon it solely by tho pol- 
itics of the same Nabob, the 'ired enemy of 
that people,) and without disc ? a shilling for 

their sufferings, they accumulatv. arrear ot abo'' 
four hundred thousand pounds of pretcrded tribute 
to tins enemy; and then they order tho Directors 
to put their hand- to a new adjudication, directly 
contrary to a judgment in a judicial character and 
trust solemnly given by them and entered on their 



r. . 



These proceedings naturally called for some in- 
quiry. On the 28th of February, 1785, Mr. Fox 
made the following motion in the House of Com- 
mons, after moving that the clauses of the act should 
be read : — " That the proper officer do lay before -his 
House copies or extracts of all letters and orders of 
the Court of Directors of the United East India Com- 
pany, in pursuance of the injunctions contained in the 
S7th and 38th clauses of the said act" ; and the ques- 
tion being put, it pas5ed in the negative by a very 
great majority. 

The last speech in the debate was the following; 
which is given to the public, not as being more wor- 
thy of its attention than others, (some of which were 
of consummate ability,) but as entering more into 
the detail of the subject. 





THE tinies we lire in, Mr. Speaker, have been dis- 
tinguished by extraordinary events. Habituat- 
ed, however, as we are, to uncommon combinations 
of men and of affairs, I believe nobody recollects any- 
thing more surprising than the spectacle of this day. 
The right honorable gentleman* whose conduct is 
now in question formerly stood forth in this House, 
the prosecutor of the worthy baronet f who spoke af- 
ter him. He charged him with several grievous acts 
of malversation in office, with abuses of a public trust 
of a great and heinous nature. In less than two years 
we see the situation of the parties reversed ; and a sin- 
gular revolution piits the worthy baronet in a fair way 
of returning the prosecution in a recriminatory bill of 
pains and penalties, grounded on a breach of public 
trust relative to the government of the very same 
part of India. If he should undertake a bill of that 
kind, he will find no difficulty in conducting it with 
a degree of skill and vigor fully equal to all that have 
been exerted against him. 

But the change of relation between these two gen- 
tlemen is not so striking as the total difference of 
their deportment under the same unhappy circum- 
stances. Whatever the merits of the worthy baro- 

* Right Honorable Henry Dandas. 

t Sir Thomas Rumbold, late Governor of Madras. 


i , 


net's defence might have been, he did not shrink 
from the charge. He met it with manliness of spirit 
and decency of behavior. What would have been 
thought of him, if he had held the present language 
of his old accuser? When articles were exhibited 
against him by that right honorable gentleman, he 
did not think proper to tell the House that we ought 
to institute no inquiry, to inspect no paper, to exam- 
ine no witness. He did not tell us (what at that 
time he might have told us with some show of 
reason) that our concerns in India were matters of 
delicacy, that to divulge anything relative to them 
would bo mischievous to the state. He did not tell 
us that those who would inquire into his proceedings 
were disposed to dismember the empire. Ho had not 
the presumption to say, that, for his part, having ob- 
tained, in his Indian presidency, the ultimate object 
of his ambition, his honor was concerned in execut- 

■ ing with integrity the trust which had been legally 
committed to his charge: that others, not having 

^been so fortunate, could not be so disinterested; 
and therefore their accusations could spring from no 
other "ource than faction, and envy to his fortune. 
Had he been frontless enough to hold such vain, 
vaporing language in the face of a grave, a detailed, 
a specified matter of accusation, whilst he violently 
resisted everything which could bring the merits of 
his cause to the test, — had he been wild enough to 
anticipate the absurdities of this day, — that is, had 
he inferred, as his late accuser has thought roper to 
io, that he could not have been guilty of malversa- 
,tion in office, for this sole and curious reason, that he 
;had been in office. — had he argued the impossibility 
ofTiis abusing his power on this sole principle, that 






ho had power to abuse, — he would have left but one 
impression ou the mind of every man who heard him, 
and who believed him in his senses : that in the ut- 
most extent he was guilty of the charge. 

But, Sir, leaving these two gentlemen to alternate 
as criminal and accuser upon what principles they 
think expedient, it is for us to consi^'er whether the 
Chancellor of the Exchequer and tlie Treasurer of 
the Navy, acting as a Board of Control, are justified 
by law or policy in suspending the legal arranj^omeuts 
made by tlxe Court of Directors, in c .-dor to transfer 
the public revenues to the private emolument of cer- 
tain servants of the East India Compai y, without the 
inquiry into the origin and justice of their claims pre- 
scribed by an act of Parliament. 

It is not contended that the act of Parliament did 
not expressly ordain an inquiry. It is not asserf,ed 
that this inquiry was not, with equal precision of 
terms, specially committed, under particular regida- 
tions, to the Court of Directors. I conceive, therefore, 
the Board of Control had no right whatsoever to in- 
termeddle in that business. There is nothing certain 
in the principles of jurisprudence, if this be not unde- • 
niably true, that when a special authority is given to f 
any persons by name to do some particular act, that no j 
others, by virtue of general powers, can obtain a legal 
title to intrude themselves into that trust, and to ex; 
ercise those special functions in thoir place. I there- 
fore consider the intermeddling of ministers in this 
affair as a downright usurpation. But if the strained 
construction by which they have forced themselves 
into a suspicious office (wliich every man delicate 
with regard to character would rather have sought 
constructions to avoid) were perfectly sound and 

f n 









perfectly legal, of this I am certain, that they cannot 
be justified in declining the inquiry whicli had been 
prescribed to the Court of Directors. If the Board of 
Control did lawfully possess the right of executing the 
special truFt given to that court, they must take it as 
they found it, subject to the very same regulations 
which hound the Court of Directors. It will be al- 
lowed that the Court of Directors had no authority to 
dispense with cither the substance or the mode of 
inquiry prescribe'' by the act of Parliament. If they 
had not, where in the act did the Board of Control 
acquire that capacity? Indeed, it was impossible 
they should acquire it. What must we think of 
the fabric and texture of an act of Parliament which 
should find it necessary to prescribe a strict inquisi- 
tion, that should descend into minute regulations for 
the conduct of that inquisition, that should commit 
this trust to a particular description of men, and in 
the very same breath should enable another body, at 
their own pleasure, to supersede all the provisions the 
legislature had made, and to defeat the whole pur- 
pose, end, and object of the law? This cannot be 
supposed even of an act of Parliament conceived by 
the ministers themselves, and brought forth during 
the delirium of the last session. 

My honorable friend has told you in the speech 
which introduced his motion., that fortunately this 
question is not a great deal involved in the laby- 
rinths of Indian detail. Certainly not. But if it 
were, I beg leave to assure you that thoio is noth- 
ing in the Indian detail which is more difficult than 
in the detail of any other business. I admit, because 
I have some experience of the fact, that for the inte- 
rior regulation of India a minute knowledge of India 


m i" 


is requisite, iiut ou aiijr specific matter of delin- 
quencj in its goveriimeiit you are as capable of 
judging as if tlio some thing vore done at your 
door. Fraud, injustice, oppression, peculation, en- 
gendered in India, are crimes of the same blood, 
family, and cast with those that are born and bred 
in England. To go no farther than the case before 
lis : you are just as competent to judge whether the 
sum of four millions sterling ought or ought not 
to be passed f-om the public treasury into a pri- 
vate pocket without any title except the claim of 
the parties, when the issue of fact is laid in Madras, 
as when it is laid in Westminster. Terms of art, 
indeed, are different in different places ; but they are 
generally imderstood in none. The tcchniccl style 
of an Indian treasury is not one jot more remote 
than the jargon of our own Exchequer from the train 
of our ordinary ideas or tue idiom of our common 
language. The difference, therefore, in the two cases 
is not in the comparative difficuHy or facility of the 
two subjects, but in our attention to the one and 
our total neglect of the other. Had this attention 
and neglect been regulated by the value of the sev- 
eral ^' jects, there would be nothing to complain of. 
But the reverse of that supposition is true. The 
scene of the Indian abuse is distant, indeed ; but we 
must not infer that the value of our interest in it is 
decreased in proportion as it recedes from our view. 
In our politics, as in our common c( auct, we shall 
be worse than infants, if we do not put our senses 
under the tuition of our judgment, and effectually 
cure oui-selves of that optical illusion wliich makes 
a brier at our nose of greater magnitude than an 
oak at five hundred yards' distance. 







I * 


I think I cau trace all the calamities of this coun- 
try to the single source of our not having had steadily 
before our eyes a general, comprehensive, well-con- 
ucctcd, and well-proportioned view of the whole of 
our dominions, and a just sense of their true bear- 
ings and relations. After all its reductions, the Brit- 
ish empire is still vast and various. After all the 
reductions of the House of Commons, (stripped as wo 
are of our brightest ornaments and of our most im- 
portant privileges,) enough are yet left to furnish us, 
if we please, with means of showing to the world 
that we deserve the superintendence of as largo an 
empire as this kuigdom ever held, and the continu- 
ance of as ample nrivileges as the House of Com- 
mons, in the pic Hs power, had been habit- 
uated to assert, i ^ake ourselves too little 
for the sphere of oux on the contrary, wo 
do not stretch and expanu ^^. minds to the compass 
of their object, be well assured that everything about 
us will dwindle by degrees, until at length our con- 
cerns are shrunk to the dimensions of our minds. 
It is not a predilection to mean, sordid, home-bred 
cares that will avert the consequences of a false esti- 
mation of our interest, or prevent the shameful dilap- 
idation into which a great empire must fall by mean 
re larations upon mighty ruins. 

I confess I foel a degree of disgust, almost leading 
to despair, at the manner in which we are acting in 
the great exigencies of our country. There is now 
a bill in this House appointing a rigid inquisition 
into the minutest detail of our offices at home. The 
collection of sixteen millions annually, a collection 
on which the public greatness, safety, and credit have 
their reliance, the whole order of criminal jurispru- 


' iiiCJ 



donee, which liolds together society itself, have at no 
time obliged us to call fortii Mich powrorH, — no, nor 
anything like them. There is not a pi-inci{)lo of the 
law and Constitution of this country tiiat is not sub- 
verted to favor the execution of that project.* And 
for what is all this apparatus of bustle and terror ? 
Is it because anything substantial is expected from 
it ? No. Tho stir and bustle itself is the end pro 
posed. Tlio eye-servants of a short-sighted master 
will employ themselves, not on what is most es.-iMi- 
tial to liis affairs, but on what is nearest to his ken. 
Great difficulties have given a just value to econo- 
my ; and our minister of tho day must bo an econ- 
omist, whatever it may cost us. But where is ho to 
exert his talents ? At homo, to bo sure ; for whore 
else can ho obtain a profitable credit for their exer- 
tion ? It is nothing to him, whether tho object on 
which he works under our eye be ; insiiig or not. 
If ho does not obtain any public benefit, ho niiiy 
make regulations without end. Tlioso are sure to 
pay in present expectation, whilst tho ctToct is at a 
distance, and may be tho concern of otlior times 
and other men. On theso principles, he chooses to 
suppose (for he does not pretend more than to sup- 
pose) a naked possibility that he shall draw somo 
resource out of crumbs dropped from the trenchers 
of penury ; that something shall be laid in store 
from the short allowance of revenue-officers over- 
loaded with duty and famished for want of bread, — 
by a reduction from officers who are at this very 
hour ready to batter the Treasury with what breaks 
through stone walls for an increase of their "ppoint- 
ments. From the marrowless bones of these sijcletou 



• Appendix, No. I. 

' 4 






1 f 


'I • 


estal)liHhmonts, by tho use of every sort of cutting 
and of every sort of fretting tool, he flatters hims-elf 
that he may chip and rasp an empirical alimentary 
powder, to diet into some similitude of health and 
substance the languishing chimeras of fraudulent 

Whilst he is thus employed according to his pol- 
icy and to his taste, he has not leisure to inquire 
into those abuses in India that are drawing oil 
money by millions from the treasures of this coun- 
try, which are exhausting tlie vital juices from mem- 
bers of tb.e state, where the public inanition is fai 
more sorely felt than in the local exchequer of Eng- 
land. Not content with winking at these abuses, 
whilst he attempts to squeeze the laborious, ill-paid 
drudges of English revenue, he lavishes, in one act 
of corrupt prodigality, upon those who never served 
tlic public in any honest occupation at all, an annual 
income equal to two thirds of the whole collection of 
the revenues of tliis kingdom. 

Actuated by the same principle of choice, he has 
now on the anvil another scheme, full of difficulty 
and desperate hazard, which totally alters the com- 
mercial relation of two kingdoms, and, what end 
soever it shall have, may bequeath a legacy of heart- 
burning and discontent to one of tho countries, per- 
haps to both, to be perpetuated to the latest posterity. 
This project is also undertaken on the hope of profit. 
It is provided, that, out of some (I know not what) 
remains of the Irish hereditary revenue, a fund, at 
some time, and of some sort, should be applied to 
tlie protection of tho Irish trade. Here we are com- 
manded again to task our finth, and to persuade our- 
selves, that, out of the surplus of deficiency, out of 


~' ^ 



the savings of habitual aud systematic prodigality, the 
minister of wonders will provide support for this na- 
tion, sinking under the mountainous load of two hun- 
dred and thirty millions of debt. But whilst wc look 
with pain at his desperate and laborious trifling, 
whilst we are apprehensive that he will break liis 
back in stooping to pick up chaff and straws, he re- 
covers himself at an elastic bound, and witii a broad- 
cast swing of his arm he squanders ov^r his Indian 
field a sum far greater than the clear produce of the 
whole hereditary revenue of the kingdom of Ireland.* 

ytrange as this scheme of conduct in ministry is, 
and inconsistent with all just policy, it is still true to 
itself, and faithful to its own perverted order. Tiiose 
who are bountiful to crimes will be rigid to merit 
and penurious to service. Their penury is even held 
out as a blind and cover to their prodigality. The 
economy of injustice is to furnish resources for the 
fund of corruption. Then they pay off their protec- 
tion to great crimes and great criminals by being in- 
exorable to the paltry frailties of little men ; and these 
modern flagellants are sure, with a rigid fidelity, to 
whip their own enormities on the vicarious back of 
every small offender. 

It is to draw your attention to economy of quite 
anotlier order, it is to animadvert on offences of a far 
different description, that my honorable friend has 
brought before you the motion of this day. It is to 
perpetuate the abuses which are subverting the fabric 

* The whole of the net Irish hereditary revenue is, on a mediant 
of the last seven years, about 330,000/. yearly. The revenues of all 
denominations fall short more than 150,000/. yearly of the churgcs. 
On the present produce, if Mr. Pitt's sclieme was to take place, ho 
mi(;ht gain from seven to ten thousand pounds a year. 





of your empire, that the motion is opposed. It is, 
therefore, with reason (and if he has power to carry 
himself through, I commend his prudence) that the 
right honorable gentleman makes his stand at tho 
ve°ry outset, and boldly refuses all Parliamentary 
information. Let him admit but one step towards 
inquiry, and he is undone. You must be ignorant, 
or he cannot be safe. But befo e his curtain is let 
down, and the shades of eternal .. iht shall veU our 
Eastern dominions from our vies . Jrmit mo, Sir, to 
avail myself of the means which were furnished in 
anxious and inquisitive times to demonstrate out of 
this single act of the present minister what advan- 
tages yon are to derive from permitting the greatest 
concern of this nation to be separated from the cog- 
nizance, and exempted even out of the competence, 
of Parliament. The greatest body of your revenue, 
your most numerous armies, your most important 
commerce, the richest sources of your public credit, 
(contrary to every idea of the known, settled policy 
of England,) are on the point of being converted into 
a mysicry of state. You are going to have one half 
ot the globe hid even from the common liberal curi- 
osity of an English gentleman. Here a grand revo- 
lution commences. Mark the period, and mark the 
circumstances. In most of the capital changes that 
are recorded in the principles and system of any gov- 
ernment, a public benefit of some kind or other has 
been pretended. The revolution commenced in some- 
thing plausible, in something which carried the ap- 
pearance at least of punishment of delinquency or 
correction of abuse. But here, in the very moment 
of the conversion of a department of British govern- 
ment into an Indian mystery, and in the very act in 



which the change commences, a corrupt private in- 
terest is set up in direct opposition to tlio necessities 
of the nation. A diversion is made of millions of the 
public money from the public treasury to a private 
purse. It is not into secret negotiations for war, 
peace, or alliance that the House of Commons is for- 
bidden to inquire. It is a matter of account ; it is a 
pecuniary transaction ; it is the demand of a suspect- 
ed steward upon ruined tenants and an embarrassed 
master that the Commons of Great Brit'^'n are com- 
manded not to inspect. The whole ten ^<e rlLiht 
honorable gentleman's argument is co.. to the 
nature of his policy. The system of coiicealment is 
fostered by a system of falsehood. False facts, false 
colors, false names of persons and things, are its 
whole sxipport. 

Sir, I mean to follow the right honorable gentle- 
man over that field of deception, clearing wliat he 
has purposely obscured, and fairly stating what it was 
necessary for him to misrepresent. For tliis purpose, 
it is necessary you should know, with some degree of 
distinctness, a little of the locality, the nature, the 
circumstances, the magnitude of the pretended debts 
on which this marvellous donation is founded, as well 
as of the persons from whom and by whom it is 

Madras, with its dependencies, is the second (but 
with a long interval, the second) member of the Brit- 
ish empire in the East. The trade of that city, and 
of the adjacent territory, was not very loi.^ ago 
among the most flourisliing in Asia. But since tho 
establishment of the British power it has wasted 
away under an uniform gradual decline, insomuch 
tliat in the year 1779 not one merchant of eminence 




i Y- 

was to 1)0 found in the whole country.* Duriiij; this 
period of decay, about six hundred tliousiiud btorling 
pounds a year have been drawn oil by Englisli gentle- 
lueu on tlioir private ac* .unt, by the way of China 
aluncf If we add four liundred thousand, as proba- 
bly remitted through othor cliannels, and iu other 
uiediuuis, that is, iu jewels, gold, and silver, directly 
brought +'■ \aropc, and in bills upon the British and 
foreign companies, you will scarcely think the mat- 
ter overrt d. If we fix the conimencemcut of this 
extraction of money from the Carnatie at a period no 
earlier than the year 1760, and close it in the year 
17 SO, it probably will not amount to a great deal less 
than twenty millions of money. 

During the deep, silent flow of this steady stream 
of wealtl which set from India into Europe, it gen- 
erally passed on with no adequate observation ; but 
happcniiig at some periods to meet I'ifts of rocks that 
cheeked its course, it grew more noisy and attracted 
more notice. The pecuniary discussions caused by 
an accumulation of part of the fortunes of their ser- 
vants in a debt from the Nabob of A'-cot was tho first 
tiling which very particularly called for, and long en- 
gaged, the attention of the Court of Directors. This 
debt amounted to eight hundred and eighty thousand 
pounds sterling, and was claimed, for the greater part, 
by English gentlemen residing at Madras. This grand 
capital, settled at length by order at ten per cent, af- 
fonlod an annuity of eighty-eight tliousand pounds.^ 

Whilst the Directors were digesti!!g their astonish- 

* Mr. Smith's Examination before the Select Committee. 
liix. No. 2. 

t Appendix, No. 2. 

\ rourth Report, Mr. Dundas's Committee, p. 4. 







inent at this information, a memorial was presented 
to them from three gentlemen, informing them that 
their friends had lent, likewise, to merchants of Can- 
ton in China, a sum of not more than one .uilliou 
sterling. In this memorial tliey called upon the 
Company for their assistance and interposition with 
the Chinese government for the recovery of tlie debt. 
Tliis sum lent to Chinese merchants was at twenty- 
four per cent, which would yield, if paid, an annuity 
of two hundred and forty thousand pounds.* 

Perplexed as the Directors were with tliese de- 
mauds, you may conceive, Sir, that they did not lind 
themselves very mucl* disembarrassed by being made 
acquainted that tliey must again exert thv'w influence 
for a new reserve of the happy parsimony of their ser- 
vants, collected into a second debt froiu tlie Nabob of 
Arcot, amounting to two millions four hundred thou- 
sand pounds, settled at an interest of twelve per cent. 
This is known by tlie name of the Consolidation of 
1777, as the former of the Nabob's debts was by the 
title of the Consolidation of 17(37. To this was added, 
in a separate parcel, a little reserve, called the Cavalry 
Debt, of one hundred and sixty thousand pounds, at 
the same interest. The whole of these four capitals, 
amouiiting to four milliouj four hundred and forty 
thousand pounds, produced at their several rates, 
annuities amounting to six hundred and twenty 
three thousand pounds a year: a good deal more 
than one third of the clear land-tax of England, at 
four shillings in the pound ; a good deal more than 
dtjuble the whole annual dividend of viie East India 

* A witness examined before the Committee o'' Secrecy snys that 
eighteen per cent was the usual interest, l)ut he had lieard tliat more 
had been ^iven. The above is the acLOunt which Jlr. B. received. 



Company, the nominal masters to the proprietors in 
tlicse funds. Of this interest, three hundred and 
eighty-three thousand two hundred pounds a year 
stood chargeable on the public revenues of the Car- 

Sir, at this moment, it will not be necessary to con- 
gider the various operations which tlie capital and in- 
terest of this debt have successively undergone. I 
shall speak to these operations when I come partic- 
ularly to answer the right honorable gentleman on 
each of the heads, as he has thought proper to divide 
tliem. But this was the exact view in which these 
debts first appeared to the Court of Directors, and to 
tlie world. It varied afterwards. But it never ap- 
peared in any other than a most questionable shape. 
When this gigantic phantom of debt first appeared 
before a young minister, it naturally would have jus- 
tified some degree of doubt and apprehension. Such 
a prodigy would have filled ar.y common man with 
superstitious fears. He would exorcise that shape- 
less, nameless form, and by everything sacred would 
have adjured it to tell by what means a small num- 
ber of slight individuals, of no consequence or situa- 
tion, possessed of no lucrative ofl^ces, without tlie 
command of armies or the known administration of 
revenues, without profession of any kind, witliout any 
sort of trade sufficient to employ a peddler, could have, 
in a few years, (as to some, even in a few months,) 
amassed treasures equal to the revenues of a respect- 
able kingdom ? Was it not enough to put these gen- 
tlemen, in the novitiate of their administration, on 
their guard, and to call upon them for a strict in- 
quiry, (if not to justify them in a reprobation of those 
demands without any inquiry at all,) that, when all 



England, Scotland, and Ireland had for years been 
witness to the immense sums laid out by the servants 
of the Company in stocks of all denominations, in the 
purchase of lands, in the buying and building of 
houses, in the securing quiet seats in Parliament 
or in the tumultuous x'iot of contested elections, in 
wandering throughout the whole range of those va- 
riegated modes of inventive prodigality which some- 
times have excited our wonder, sometimes roused our 
indignation, that, after all, India was four millions 
still in debt to them? India in debt to them! For 
what ? Every debt, for which an equivalent of some 
kind or other is not given, is, on the face of it, a 
fraud. What is the equivalent they have given? 
Wliat equivalent had they to give? What are the 
articles of commerce, or the branches of manufac- 
ture, which those gentlemen have carried hence to 
enrich India? What are the sciences they beamed 
out to enlighten it? What are the arts they intro- 
duced to cheer and to adorn it? What are the re- 
ligious, what the moral institutions they have taught 
among that people, as a guide to life, or as a consola- 
tion when life is to be no more, that there is an eter- 
nal debt, a debt "still paying, still to owe," which 
must be bound on the present generation in India, 
and entailed oi' their mortgaged posterity forever? 
A debt of millions, in favor of a set of men whoso 
names, with few exceptions, are either buried in the 
obscurity of their origin and talents or dragged uito 
light by the enormity of theix crimes ! 

In my opinion the courage of the minister was the 
most wonderful part of the transaction, especially as 
he must have read, or rather the right liouonil)lo 
gentleman says he has read for him, whole volumes 



I' ' 



upon the subject. Tho volumes, by the way, are not 
by oue tenth part so uumcrous as the right honorable 
genlleiuan has thought proper to pretend, in order to 
frighten you from inquiry; but in these volumes, 
buch as they are, tho minister must have found a 
full authority for a suspicion (at tho very least) of 
everythuig relative to tlie great fortunes made at 
Madras. What is that aulliority? Why, no otlier 
than the standing authority fur all the claims wliich 
the ministry has thought fit to provide for, — tho 
grand debtor, — the Nabob of Arcot liimself. Hear 
tiiat prince, in tlie letter written to the Court of Direc- 
tors, at the precise period whilst the main body of 
tiicse debts were contracting. In his letter he states 
himself to be, what undoubtedly ho is, a most com])e- 
t Jilt witness to tliis point. After speaking of the war 
witli Hyder Ali in 1708 and 170U, and of other meas- 
ures wliich he censures, (whetiier ri;:ht or wrong it 
signifies nothing,) and into which he says he had 
been led by the Company's servants, ho proceeds in 
this manner: — "If all these things were against tlie 
real interests of the C:napaiiy, they are ten thousand 
times more against mine, and a;;;unst the jirosperity 
of my country and the happiness of my pi'ople ; for 
your interests and mine are tho same. Vr'/uct were 
they oicing to, then? To the private views of a few 
individuah, tvho have enriched theimelves at the en- 
pcnse of your influence and of my country : for your 
gervants iiavk no trade in this country, neither do 
you pay them hiyh zvages ; yet in a '' >v years they 
return to Unyland with many lacs oj pagodas. lino 
can you or I account for such immense fortunes ac- 
quired in so short a time, without any visible means of 
getting them ? " 

Ii f ■- 
li i 



When he asked this question, wliich iuvulves its 
answer, it is extraordinary that curiosity did not 
l)ronii)t the Chancellor of the Exciiequer to that in- 
quiry wliich might conio in vain recommended to 
him by his own act of Parliament. Does not tlio Na- 
bob of Arcot tell us, in so many words, that there 
was no fair way of makhig the enurnious sums sent 
by the Company's servants to England ? And do you 
imagine that there was or could be more honesty and 
good faith in the demands for what remained behind 
in India? Of what nature were the transactions wilii 
liimself ? If you follow the train of his information, 
you must see, that, if these great sums were at all 
lent, it was not projjerty, but spoil, that was 1 t ; if 
not lent, the transaction was not a contract, i)ut a 
fraud. Either way, if light enough could not bo 
furnished to authorize a full condemnation of these 
demands, they ought to have been left to the parties, 
who best knew and understood each other's proceed- 
ings. It was not necessary that the authority of gov- 
ernment should interj)Oso in liivor of claims whoso 
very foundation was a defu.nce of that authority, and 
whoto object and end was its entire subversion. 

It may bo said tliat this letter was written by the 
Nabob of Arcot in a moody humor, under the influ- 
ence of some chagrin. Certainly it was; but it is in 
such humors that truth comes out. And when he tells 
you, from his own knowledge, what every one must 
presume, from the extreme probability of the thing, 
whether he told it or not, one such testimony is worth 
a thousand that contradict that probability, when tho 
parties have a better understanding with each other, 
and when tliey have a point to carry that may unito 
them in a common deceit. 


If , 






If this body of private claims of debt, real or de- 
vised, wore a question, as it is falsely pretended, be- 
tween tiio Nabob of Arcot, as debtor, and Paul Ben- 
field and his associates, as creditors, I am sure I should 
give myself but little trouble about it. If the hoards 
of oppression were the fund for sati^ ' •<? the claims 
of bribery and peculation, who v\ju' ,.ish to inter- 
fore between such litigants? If the demands were 
confined to what might be drawn from the treasures 
which the Company's records uniformly assert that 
the Nabob is in possession of, or if ho had mines of 
gold or silver or diamonds, (as wo know tliat he 
has none,) these gentlemen might break open his 
hoards or dig in his mines without any disturl)ance 
from me. But the gentlemen on the other side of 
the House know as well as I do, and they dare not 
contradict me, that the Nabob of Arcot and his cred- 
itors are not adversaries, but collusive parties, and 
that the whole transaction is under a false color and 
false names. The litigation is not, nor ever has been, 
between their rapacity and his hoarded riches. No : 
it is between him and them combining and confeder- 
ating, on one side, and the public revenues, and the 
miserable inhaljitants of a ruined country, on the 
other. These are the real plaintiffs and the real de- 
fendants in the suit. Refusing a shilling from his 
hoards for tlie satisfaction of any demand, the Nabob 
of Arcot is always ready, uay, he earnestly, and with 
eagerness and passion, contends for delivering up to 
these pretended creditors his territory and his sub- 
jects. It is, therefore, not from treasuries and mines, 
but from the food of your unpaid armies, from the 
blood withheld from the veins and whipped out of the 
backs of the most miserable of men, that we are to 


M tt um i trnwrn 



pamper extortion, usury, and peculation, under ihe 
false names of debtors and creditors of state. 

The great patron of these creditors, (to wliosc hon- 
or tliey ought to erect statues,) the right lionoralilo 
gentleman,* in stating the merits wliieh recommend- 
ed them to his favor, has ranked them under tliree 
grand divisions. Tlie first, the creditors of 17<5Ti 
then tlio creditors of tlio cavalry loan ; and lastly, 
the creditors of the loan in 1777. Let us examine 
them, one by one, as they pass in review before us. 

Tlie first of these loans, tha* of 1707, ho insists, 
has an indisputable claim upon the public justice. 
Tlie creditors, he affirms, lent their money publicly ; 
they advanced it witli tlio express knowledge and ap- 
probation of the Company ; and it was contracted at 
the moderate interest of ton per cent. In this loan, 
the demand is, according to him, not only just, but 
meritorious in a very high degree : and one would bo 
inclined to believe he thought so, because he has put 
it last in the provision he has made for these claims. 

I readily admit this debt to stand the fairest rf Mio 
whole ; for, whatever may be my suspicions concern- 
ing a part of it, I can convict it of nothing worse 
than the most enormous usury. But I can convict, 
upon the spot, the right honorable gentleman of the 
most daring misrei)rescntation in every one foct, 
without any exception, that ho has alleged in defence 
of this loan, and of his own conduct with regard to it. 
I will show you that this dobt was never contracted 
with the knowledge of the Company ; that it had not 
their approbation ; that they received the first intel- 
ligence of it with the utmost possible surprise, indig- 
nation, and alarm. 

* Mr. Dundas. 




I » 



.So far from IxMiip previously apprised of the trans- 
action from its origin, it was two years before llie 
Court of Directors obtained any official intellijrenco 
of it. "The dealings of tho servants with tlio Nabob 
were concealxl from tho first, until they were found 
out" (says Mr, Saycr, tho Comi»any's counsel) "by 
the report of tho country." Tho Presidency, how- 
ever, at last thoufrht proper to send an official 
account. On this the Directors tell them, " To your 
great reproach, it has been covccaled from us. Wo 
cannot but suspect this debt to havo had its weiglit 
ia your proposed af)<jrandhernetit of MaJwmed All [the 
Nabob of Arcot] ; but whetlier it has or has not, cer- 
tain it is yon are guilty of an high breach of duty in 
coricralhiq it from us." 

Those expressions, concerning tho ground of the 
transaction, its effect, an 1 its clandestine nature, are 
in the li'tters bearing dale March 17, ITiiO. After re- 
ceiving a more full account, on the 2'-d March, 1770, 
they state, that " Messrs. John Pybus, John Call, 
and Jamos I'ourchier, as trustees for themselves and 
others of tho Xaliob's private creditors, had proved a 
deed of assignment upon tho Nabob and his son of 
FIFTEEN districts of tho Nabob's country, tho reve- 
nues of which yielded, in time of peace, eight lacs of 
pagodas [."20,000/. sterling] annually; and likewise 
an assignment of the yearly tribute paid tho Nabob 
from the Rajah of Tanjoro, amounting to four lacs of 
rupees [10,000/.]." Tho territorial revenue at that 
time possessed ))y these gentlemen, witliout tho knowl- 
edge or consent of their masters, amounted to three 
hundred and sixty thousand pounds sterling annually. 
Tliey were making rapid strides to the entire posses- 
siou of tho country, when the Directors, whom the 


I i 


f I 


BPEixn ox Tin: N.vnoi )P ahcot s nKtirs, 


right lionorablo gciitloraan states as Invinfj ani.ior 
izod those proceedings, wcro kept in sucli proCuuu 
ignoriince oi' tliis royul awjuisition of torri*' ivo- 

liuo by their servants, tliat in the sanio l.;ttv!r tlioy 
gay, "This assignment was olitained l)y three, of the 
memhirH of your hoard in January, lTt)7, yet wo do 
not find tlie least trace of it upon \aiir Consultatimis 
until August, 17<W, nor do any of your letters to us 
atford any information relative to sueli transactions 
till the Ist of November, 1708. By your last letters 
of tho 8tli of May, 17(!0, you bring tlio whole pro- 
ceedings to light in one viev.'." 

As to tho previous knowledge of tho Company, and 
its sanction to the debts, you soo that this assertion 
of tliat knowledge is utterly unfounded. But did tho 
Directors approve of it, and ratify tho.transnctioi'. 
when it was known ? The very reverse. On tho 
same 3d of March, tlic Directors declare, " upon an 
impartial examination of tho whole conduct of our 
late Governor and Council of Fort George [Madras], 
and on tlio fullest consideration, that the said Govern- 
or and Coiuicil have, in notorious violation of the tnixt 
reposed in them, manifestly preferred the interest of 
private individuals to that of the Company, in penuit- 
ting tho assignment of the revenues of certain valua- 
ble districts, to a very large amount, from the Nabob 
to individuals " ; and tlien, higldy aggravating their 
crimes, thoy add, — " Wo order and direct that you do 
examine, in the most impartial manner, all the above- 
mentioned transactions, and that jon punish, by sus- 
pension, degradation, dismission, or otherwise, as to 
you shall seem meet, all and every such servant or 
servants of tho Company who m;iy by you be found 
guilty of any of tho above otlonccs." " Wo had " (say 


i ♦■' 


I ) 


the Directors) " the mortification to find that the ser- 
vants of the Company, who had been raised, support- 
ed, and oived their present opulence to the advantages 
gained in such service, have in this instance most 
unfaithfully betrayed their trust, abandoned the Com- 
pany's interest, and prostituted its influence to accom- 
plish the purposes of individuals, whilst the interest of 
the Company is almost wholly neglected, and pajmcnt 
to us rendered extremely precarious." Here, then, is 
the rock of approbation of the Court of Directors, on 
which the right honorable gentleman says this debt 
was founded. Any member, Mr. Speaker, who should 
come into the House, on my reading this sentence of 
condemnation of the Court of Directors "gainst their 
unfaithful servants, might well imagine that he had 
heard an harsh, severe, unqualified invective against 
the present ministerial Board of Control. So exactly 
do the proceedings of the patrons of this abuse tally 
with those of the actors in it, that the expressions 
used in the condemnation of the one may serve for 
the reprobation of the other, without the change of a 

To read you all the expressions of wrath and indig- 
nation fulminated in this dispatch against the merito- 
rious creditors of the right honorable gentleman, who 
according to him have been so fully approved by the 
Company, would be to read the whole. 

Tlie right honorable gentleman, with an address 
peculiar to himself, every now and then slides in the 
Presidency of Madras, as synonymous to tho Company. 
Tliat the Presidency did approve the debt is certain. 
But the right honorable gentleman, as prudent in 
suppressing as skilful in bringing forward his matter, 
has not chosen to tell you that tlic Presidency were 






tlie very persons guilty of contracting this loan, — 
creditors themselves, and agents and trustees for all 
the other creditors. For this the Court of Directors 
accuse them of breach of trust ; and for this the right 
lionorable gentleman considers thorn as perfectly good 
authority for tliose claims. It is pleasant to hear a 
gentleman of the law quote the approbation of cred- 
itors as an authority for their own debt. 

How they came to contract the debt to themselves, 
how tliey came to act as agents for those whom they 
ought to have controlled, is for your inquiry. The 
policy of this debt was announced to the Court of Di- 
rectors by the very persons concerned in creating it. 
" Till very lately," say the Presidency, " the Nabob 
placed Iiis dependence on the Company. Now he has 
been taught by ill advisers that an interest out of 
doors may stand him in good stead. He has been 
made to believe that his private creditors have power 
and interest to overrule the Court of Directors."' * The 
Nabob was not misinformed. The private creditors 
instantly qualified a vast number of votes ; and hav- 
ing made themselves masters of tho Court of Proprie- 
tors, as woU as extending a powerful cabal in other 
places as important, they so completely overturned 
the authority of the Court of Directors at home and 
abroad, tliat this poor, baffled government was soon 
obliged to lower its tone. It was glad to bo admit- 
ted into partnership with its own servants. Tho 

* For the threats of the creditors, and total subversion of the 
authority of the Company in favor of the Nabob's power and the 
increase thereby of his evil dispositions, and the great derangement 
of all public concerns, see Select Committee Fort St. George's lettera, 
21st November, 1769, and January 31st, 1770; September 11, 1772; 
and Governor Bourchier's letters to the Nabob of Arcot, 21 8t No 
vcmber, 1769, and December 9th, 1769. 

VOL. III. 3 

%fi < 







Court of Directors, establishing the debt wliich they 
had reprobated as a breach of trust, and which was 
planned for the subversion of their authority, settled 
its payments on a par with those of the public ; and 
even so were not able to obtain peace, or even equal- 
ity in their demands. All the consequences lay in a 
regular and irresistible train. By employ! g their 
influence for the recovery of this debt, their orders, 
issued in the same breath, against creating new debts, 
only animated the strong dosires of their servants to 
this prohibited prolific sport, and it soon produced a 
swarm of sons and daughters, not in the least degen- 
erated from the virtue of their parents. 

From that moment the authority of the Court of 
Directors expired in the Carnatic, and everywhere 
else. " Every man," says the Presidency, " who op- 
poses the government and its measures, finds an 
immediate countenance from the Nabob ; even our 
discarded officers, however unworthy, are received 
into the Nabob's service." * It was, indeed, a matter 
of no wonderful sagacity to determine whether the 
Court of Directors, with their miserable salaries to 
their servants, of four or five hundred pounds a year, 
or the distributor of millions, was most likely to be 
obeyed. It was an invention beyond the imagina- 
tion of all the spcculatists of our speculating age, to 
see a government quietly settled in one and the same 
town, composed of two distinct members : one to pay 

■ h 


• " He [the Nabob] is in a great degree the canse of our present 
inability, by diverting the rcvcnnes of the Carnatic through private 
diannels." "Even this peshcush [the Tanjore tribute], circumstanced 
as he and we are, he has assigned over to others, who now set them- 
telvet in opjtosition to the Compamj." — Consultations, October 11, 1769, 
on the 12th communicated to the Nabob. 


it ■ i" 

' iiJmm ''nSii'iSM'^i , ^" 'fTJi i 


scantily for obedience, and the other to bribe high for 
rebellion and revolt. 

The next thing which recommends this particular 
debt to the right honorable gentleman is, it seems, 
the moderate interest of ten per cent. It would be 
lost labor to observe on this assertion. The Nabob, 
in a long apologetic letter* for the transaction be- 
tween him and the body of the creditors, states the 
fact as I shall state it to you. In the accumulation 
of this debt, the first interest paid was from thirty to 
thirty-six per cent ; it was then brought down to 
twenty-five per cent; at length it was reduced to 
twenty ; and there it found its rest. During the 
whole process, as often as any of these monstrous 
interests fell into an arrear, (into which they were 
continually falling,) +V Tear, formed into a new 
capital,! was added ' n. .d, and the same interest 
of twenty per cent *d upon both. The Com- 

pany, having got sor .at of the enormous usury 
which prevailed at Madras, thought it necessary to 
interfere, and to order all interests to be lowered to 
ten per cent. This order, which contained no excep- 
tion, tliough it by no means pointed particularly to this 
class of debts, came like a thunderclap on the Nabob. 
He con, idered his political credit as ruined; but to 

* Nabob's letter to Grovernor Palk. Papers pablished by the Di- 
rectors in 1775 ; and papers printed by the same authority, 1781. 

t See papers printed by order of a General Court in 1 780, pp. 222 
and 224 ; as also Nabob's letter to Governor Dnprt?, 19th July, 1771 : 
" I have taken up loans by which I have suffered a loss of upicards 
of a crore of patjodas [four millions sterling] by interest on an heavy in- 
terest." Letter 15th January, 1772: "Notwithstanding I have taken 
much trouble, and have made many payments to my creditors, yet 
the load of my debt, which became so great by interest and compmmd in- 
terest, is not cleared." 

*»■! iL 


l! tt 



find a remedy to this unexpected evil, he again added 
to the old principal twenty per cent interest accruing 
for the last year. Thus a new fund was formed ; and 
it was on that accumtilation of various principals, 
and interests heaped upon interests, not on the sum 
originally lent, as tiie right honorable gentleman 
would make you briiove, that teii per cent was set- 
tled on the whole. 

When you consider the enormity of the interest at 
which these debts were contracted, £»nd the several in- 
terests added to the principal, I believe you will not 
tliink me so skeptical, if I should doubt whetho- for 
this debt of 880,000?. the Nabob ever saw 100,000Z. 
in real money. The right honorable gentleman sus- 
pecting, with all his absolute dominion over fact, that 
Tie never will be able to defend even this venerable 
patriarchal job, though sanctified by its numerous 
issue, and hoary with prescriptive years, has recourse 
to recrimination, the last resource of guilt. He says 
that this loan of 1767 was provided for in Mr. Fox's 
India bill ; and judging of others by his own nature 
and principles, he more than insinuates that this pro- 
vision was made, not from any sense of merit in the 
claim, but from partiality to General Smith, a propri- 
etor, and an agent for that debt. If partiality could 
have had any weight against justice and policy with 
the then ministers and their friends, General Smith 
had titles to it. But the right honorable gentleman 
knows as well as I do, that General Smith was very 
far from looking on himself as partially treated in the 
arrangements of that time ; indeed, what man dared 
to hope for private partiality in that sacred plan for 
relief to nations ? 

It is not necessary that the right honorable gentle- 




man should sarcastically call that time to our recol- 
lection. Well do I remember every circumstance of 
that memorable period. God ib'-bid I should forget 
it! illustrious disgrace! victorious defeat! May 
your memorial be fresh and new to the latest gen- 
erations ! May the day of that generous conflict be 
stamped in characters never to be cancelled or worn 
out from the records of time ! Let no man hear of 
us, who shall not hear, that, in a struggle against the 
intrigues of courts and the perfidious levity of the 
multitude, we fell in the cause of honor, in the cause 
of our country, in the cause of human nature itself! 
But if fortune should be as powerful over fame as 
she has been prevalent over virtue, at least our con- 
science is beyond her jurisdiction. My poor share in 
the support of that great measure no man shall ravish 
from me. It shall be safely lodged in the sanctuary 
of my heart, — never, never to be torn from thence, 
but with those holds that grapple it to life. 

I say, I well remember that bill, and every one of 
its honest and its wise provisions. It is not true that 
this debt was ever protected or enforced, or any reve- 
nue whatsoever set apart for it. It was left in that 
bill just where it stood : to be paid or not to be paid 
out of the Nabob's private treasures, according to his 
own discretion. The Company had actually given it. 
their sanction, though always relying for its validity 
on tne sole security of the faith of him * who without 
their knowledge or co.isent entered into the original 
obligation. It had no other sanction ; it ought to have 
had no other. So far was Mr. Fox's bill from provid- 
ing funds for it, as this ministry have wickedly done 
for this, and for ten times worse transactions, out of the 

• The Nabob of Arcot. 



■« i!l 

* 1 




public estate, that an express clause immediatelj pre* 
ceded, positively forbidding any British subject from 
receiving assignments upon any part of the territorial 
revenue, on any pretence whatsoever.* 

You recollect, Mr. Speaker, that the Chancellor 
of the Exchequer strongly professed to retain every 
part of Mr. Fox's bill which was intended to prevent 
abuse; but in his India bill, which (let me do jus- 
tice) is as able and skilful a performance, for its own 
purposes, as ever issued from the wit of man, premed- 
itating this iniquity, — 

Hoc ipsnm nt straeret, Trojamqne aperiret Acbivis, — 

expunged this essential clause, broke down the fence 
which was raised to cover the public property against 
the rapacity of his partisans, and thus levelling every 
obstruction, he made a firm, broad highway for sin 
and death, for usury and oppression, to renew tlicir 
ravages throughout the devoted revenues of the Car- 

The tenor, the policy, and the consequences of this 
debt of 1767 are in the eyes of ministry so excel- 
lent, that its merits are irresistible ; and it takes the 
lead to give credit and countenance to all the rest. 
Along with this chosen body of heavy-armed infantry, 
and to support it in the line, the right honorable 
gentleman has stationed his corps of black cavalry. 
If there be any advantage between this debt and that 
of 1769, according to him the cavalry debt lias it. 
It is not a subject of defence : it is a theme of pane- 
gyric. Listen to the right honorable gentleman, and 
you will find it was contracted to save the country, — 
to prevent mutiny in armies, — to introduce economy 

• Appendix, No. 3. 




ill revenues; aud for all these honorable purposes, 
it origiuated at the express desire and by the repre- 
sentative authority of the Company itself. 

First let me say a word to the authority. This 
debt was contracted, not by the authority of the Com- 
pany, not by its representatives, (as the right honor- 
able gentleman has the unparalleled confidence to 
assert,) but in the ever-memorable period of 1' "7, 
by the usurped power of those who rebelliously, iu 
conjunction with the Nabob of Arcot, had overturned 
the lawful government of Madras. For that rebel- 
lion this House unanimously directed a public pros- 
ecution. Tlie delinquents, after they had subverted 
government, in order to make to themselves a party 
to support them iu their power, are universally known 
to have dealt jobs about to the right and to the left, 
and to any who were willing to receive them. Tliis 
usurpation, which the right honorable gentleman well 
knows was brought about by and for the great mass 
of these pretended debts, is the authority which is 
set up by him to represent the Company, — to rep- 
resent that Company which, from the first moment 
of their hearing of this corrupt and fraudulent trans- 
action to this hour, have uniformly disowned and 
disavowed it. 

So much for the authority. As to the facts, partly 
true, and partly colorable, as they stand recorded, 
they are in substance these. The Nabob of Arcot, 
as soon as he had thrown off the superiority of this 
country by means of these creditors, kept up a great 
army which he never paid. Of course liis soldiers 
were generally in a state of mutiny.* The usurping 
Council say that they labored hard with their master, 
• See Mr. Dundas's 1st, 2d, and 3d Reports. 


i'¥ i> 

I ■ X 



1 f 

i \ 

f '^ 



the Nabob, to persuade him to reduce these mutinous 
and useless troops. He consented; but, as usual, 
pleaded inability to pay them their arrears. Here 
was a difficulty. The Nabob had no money; tlie 
Company had no money; every public supply was 
empty. But there was one resource which no season 
has ever yet dried up in that climate. The soucari 
were at hand : that is, private English money-jobbers 
offered their assistance. Messieurs Taylor, Majen- 
die, and Call proposed to advance the small sum of 
160,000^. to pay off the Nabob's black cavalry, pro- 
vided the Company's authority was given for their 
loan. This was the great pomt of policy always 
aimed at, and pursued through a hundred devices by 
the servants at Madras. The Presidency, who them- 
selves had no authority for the functions they pre- 
sumed to exercise, very readily gave the sanction of 
the Company to those servants who knew that the 
Company, whose sanction was demanded, had posi- 
tively prohibited all such transactions. 

However, so far as the reality of the dealing goes, 
aU is hitherto fair and plausible ; and here the right 
honorable gentleman concludes, with commendable 
prudence, his account of the bushiess. But l-.ere it 
is I shall beg leave to commence my supplement: 
for the gentleman's discreet modesty has led him to 
cut the thread of the story somewhat abruptly. One 
of the most essential parties is quite forgotten. Why 
should the episode of the poor Nabob be omitted ' 
When that prince chooses it, nobody can tell his siory 
better. Excuse me, if I apply again to my book, and 
give It you from the first hand: from the Nabob 

« Mr. Stratton became acquainted with this, and 


got Mr. Taylor and others to lend me four lacs of pa- 
godas tovsu^s discharging the arrears of pay of my 
troops. Upon this, I wrote a letter of thanks to Mr. 
Stratton ; and upon the faith of this money being 
paid immediately, I ordered many of my troops to be 
discharged by a certain day, and lessened the num- 
ber of my servants. Mr. Taylor, «fec., some time after 
acquainted me, that they had no ready money, but 
they would grant teeps payable in four months. This 
astonished me ; for I did not know what might hap- 
pen, when the sepoys were dismissed from my ser- 
vice. I begged of Mr. Taylor and the otliors to pay 
this sum to the officers of my regiments at the time 
they mentioned ; and desired the officers, at the same 
time, to pacify and persuade the men belonging to 
them that their pay would be given to tliera at the 
end of four months, and that, till those arrears were 
discharged, their pay should be continiied to them. 
Ik'o years are nearly expired since that time, but Mr. 
Taylor has not yet entirely discharged the arrears of 
those troops, and I am obliged to continue their pay 
from that time till this. I hoped to have been able, 
by this expedient, to have lessened the number of my 
troops, and discharged the arrears due to them, con- 
sidering the trifle of interest to Mr. Taylor and the 
others as no great matter; but instead of this, I am 
oppressed with the burden of pay due to those troops, 
and the interest, which is going on to Mr. Taylor from 
the day the teeps were granted to him.'' What I have 
read to you is an extract of a letter from tlie Nabob 
of the Carnatic to Governor Rumbold, dated the 
22d, and received the 24th of March, 1779.* 

Suppose his Highness not to be well broken in to 

* S«o further Consultations, 3d February, 1778. 

'1 . 

i M 





I (' 



things of tliis kind, it must, indeed, surprise so known 
aud establisiied a bond-vendor as Uie Nabob uf Arcot, 
one wlio keeps himself the largest bond-warehouse 
in tl»e world, to find that he was now to receive in 
kind : not to take money for his obligations, but to 
give his bond in exchange for the bond of Messieurs 
Taylor, Majendie, and Call, and to pay, besides, a 
good, smart interest, legally twelve per cejit, (in real- 
ity, perhaps, twenty or twenty-four per cent,) for this 
exchange of paper. But his troops were not to be 
so paid, or so disbanded. They wanted bread, and 
could not live by cutting and shuffling of bonds. 
The Nabob still kept the troops in service, and was 
obliged to continue, as you have seen, the whole ex- 
pense to exonerate himself from which he became 
indebted to the soucars. 

Had it stood here, the transaction would have been 
of tlie most audacious strain of fraud ana usury per- 
haps ever before discovered, whatever migiit have 
been practised and concealed. But the same author- 
ity (I mean the Nabob's) brings before you something, 
if possible, more striking. He states 'hat, for this 
their paper, he immediately handed v,ver to these 
gcntlomon something very different from paper,— 
that is, tlie receipt of a territorial revenue, of which, 
it seems, they continued as long iu possession as the 
Nabob himself continued in possession of anything. 
Their payments, therefore, not being to commence 
before the end of four mouths, aud not being com- 
pleted in two years, it must be presumed (unless they 
prove the contrary) that their payments to the Nabob 
were made out of tlie revenues they had received from 
his assignment. Thus they condescended to accumu- 
late a debt of 1G0,000Z. with an interest of twelve per 



cent, in compensation for a lingering payment to the 
Nabob of 160,000^. of his own money. 

Sti'l we have not the whole. About two years after 
the assignment of those territorial revenues to those 
gentlemen, the Nabob receives a remonstrance from 
his chief manager in a principal provuice, of which 
this is the tenor. "The entire revenue of those 
districts is by your Highness's order set apart to 
discharge the tunkaws [assignments] granted to the 
Europeans. The ^-omastahs [agents] of Mr. Taylor 
to Mr. De Pries are there in order to collect those 
t"'ikaws; and as they receive all the revenue that is 
•)1 ected, your Higlmess's troops have seven or eight 
Mnihi' pay due, which they cannot receive, and are 
thereby reduced to the greatest distress. In such 
times it 's liighly necessary to provide for the suste- 
nance of the troops, that they may be ready to exert 
themselves in the service of your Highness." 

Here, Sir, you see how these causes and effects act 
upon one another. One body of troops mutinies for 
want of pay ; a debt is contracted to pay them ; and 
they still remain unpaid. A territory destined to pay 
other troops is assigned for this debt ; and these oiher 
troops fall into the same state of indigence and mu- 
tiny with the first. Bond is paid by bond ; arrear is 
turned into !iew arrear; usury engenders law usury; 
mutiny, suspended in one quarter, starts up in anoth- 
er ; until all the revenues and all the establishments 
are entangled into one inextricable knot of confusion, 
from which they are only disengaged by l)eing entirely 
destroyed. In that state of confusion, in a very few 
months after the date of the memorial 1 have just 
read to you, things were found, when tlie N<abob's 
troops, fani'sliod to feed English soucars, instead of 

• i vl 



• I 

1 ;li 

defending tlio couutrj, joined the invaden and u si-urN 
ed ill entire Iwdies to Hyder Ali.* 

The maiuior in which tliis transaction was curried 
on shows tiiat good examples are not easily forgot, 
especially by those who are bred in a ;rreat school. 
One of those splondid examples give me leave to 
mention, at a somewhat more early period ; because 
one fraud furnishes light to the dibcovery of another, 
and so on, until the whole secret of luystorious in- 
iquity bursts upon you in a blaze of detection. The 
paper I shiill road you is not on record. If you 
please, you may take it on my word. It is a letter 
written from one of undoubted information in Ma- 
dras to Sir John Clavering, describing the practice 
that prevailed there, whilst the Company's allies were 
under sale, during the time of Governor Wuich's ad- 

" One mode," says Cla^rering's correspondent, " of 
amassing money at the Nabob's cost is curious. He 
is generally in arrears to the Company. Here the 
Governor, being cash-keeper, is generally on good 
terms with the banker, who manages matters thus. 
The Governor presses the Nabob for the balance due 
from him; tlie Nabob flies to his banker for relief; 
the banker engages to pay the money, and grants his' 
notes accordingly, which he puts in the casli-book as 
ready money ; the Nabob pays him an interest for it at 
two and three por cent per nrnisew, till th • lunkaws 
he grants on the particular districts for it paid. 
Matters in the mean time are so managed tiwt tliero 
is no call for this money for the Company's service 

• Mr. Dandas's Ut Report, pp. -26, 29, and Appendix, N . 2, 10 
18, for the mutinOQS state and desertion of the Nabob's troops for 
want of pay. See also Report IV. of the same committee. 



till the tunkaws becomr- due. By this means not a 
cash is ii'lvancoil by the Itfinkor, tliough ho receives a 
heavy interest from the Nabob, whicli i» divided as 
kwful spoil." 

Here, Mr. Speaker, you have the whtJo art »d 
mystery, the true free-masou ocet, of t! o profeesicH 
o{ sournrintj ; by whicli a fc" innocent, ii xperienced 
yonng En^'lishmen. such as Mr. Paul Bcuucld for in- 
stance, witliout propcri; upon which any one would 
lend to themselves a tsinjrlo shilling, are '>u.ihlcd at 
once to take provinces in mortgage, to muk princes 
their debtors, and to become cru iifors for millions. 

But it seems the right lionorablo gcntinuan's fa- 
vorite soucar cavalry have proved the p^ynj at before 
the Mayor's Co< > t at Madras ! Have they <o ? Why, 
then, defraud our anxiety and their characters of that 
proof? iT it not oiiough that the charges which 
liave lai'l before > )u ii;ive stood on record against 
these pour injured gentlemen for eight years^ ? Is it 
not enough that they are in print liy 'he orders of the 
East India Company for 'ivo years? Aftei liese gf i- 
tlemen have borne all the odium of iln pablication 
and all the indignation of the Director- vith such 
unexara|)li 1 equanimity, now that the} i,e it lei gth 
stimulated into fueling are you to deny them their 
just relief.' But will the right hon 'fable trentleman 
be pleased to tell us how they came 't to give this 
satii-'actie to th L >urt of Direct rs, tiieir lawfi 
masters, rin_' aii tiie eiglit yoarb of this litigatea 
claim ? ^^'cro they not Iwund, by e^ 'ty tie that can 
bind Uiai . to g e them this satisfaction? This iay, 
for the tirs^t tim , we hear of the proofs. But when 
were these i »ofs offered? In what cause? Who 
'vere the parties? Who inspected, who eon teste! this 

• I 



belated account? Let us see something to oppose 
to the body of record which appears against them. 
The Mayor's Court ! the Mayor's Court ! Pleasant ! 
Does not tlie honorable gentleman know that the 
first corps of creditors (the creditors of 1767) stated 
it as a sort of hardship to them, that they could not 
have justice ai Madras, from the impossibility of tlicir 
supporting their claims in the Mayor's Court ? Why ? 
Because, say they, the members of tliat court were 
themselves creditors, and therefore could not sit as 
judges.* Are we ripe to say that no creditor under 
similar circumstances was member of the court, when 
the payment which is the ground of this cavalry debt 
was put in proof ?t Nay, are we not in a manner 
compelled to conclude that the court was so consti- 
tuted, when we know there is scarcely a man in Ma- 
dras who has not some participation in these transac- 
tions ? It is a shame to hear such proofs mentioned, 
instead of the honest, vigorous scrutiny which the 
circumstances of such an affair so indispensably call 

But his Majesty's ministers, indulgent enough to 
other scrutinies, have not been satisfied with author- 

• Memorial from the creditors to the Governor and Council, 22d 
January, 1770. 

t In the year 1778, Mr. James Call, cna of the proprietors of this 
specific debt, was actually mayor. (Appendix to 2d Report of Mr. 
Dundas's committee. No. 65.) The only proof which appeared on the 
inquiry instituted in the General Court of 1781 was an affidavit of the 
lenders t/iemxelves, deposing (what nobody ever denied) that they had 
engaged and agreed to pay— not that they had paid— the sn'm of 
160,000?. This was two years after the transaction ; and the affidavit 
i« made before George Proctor, mayor, an attorney for certain of the 
old creditors. — Proceedings of the President and Council of Fort St. 
George, 22d February, 1779. 





izing thf. payment of this demand without such in- 
quiry as the act has prescribed ; hut they have added 
tlie arrear of twelve per cent interest, from the year 
1777 to the year 1784, to make a new capital, raising 
thereby 160 to 294,000^. Then they charge a new 
twelve per cent on the whole from that period, for a 
transaction in which it will be a miracle if a single 
penny will bo ever found really advanced from the 
private stock of the pretended creditors. 

In this manner, and at such an interest, the minis- 
ters have thought proper to vlispose of 294,000Z. of the 
public revenues, for what is called the Cavalry Loan. 
After dispatching this, the right honorable gentleman 
leads to battle his last grand division, the consolidated 
debt of 1777. But having exhausted all his panegyric 
on the two first, he has nothing at all to say in favor 
of the last. On the contrary, he admits that It was 
contracted in defiance of the Company's orders, with- 
out even the pretended sanction of any protended 
representatives. Nobody, indeed, has yet been found 
hardy enough to stand forth avowedly in its defence. 
But it is little to the credit of the age, that what has 
not plausibility enough to find an advocate has influ- 
ence enough to obtain a protector. Could any man 
expect to find that protector anywhere? But what 
must every man think, when he finds that protector 
in the chairman of the Committee of Secrecy,* who 
had published to the House, and to the world, the 
facts that condemn those debts, the orders that for- 
bid the incurring of them, the dreadful consequen- 
ces which attended them ? Even in iiis official let- 
ter, when he tramples on his Parliamentary report, 
yet his general language is the same. Read the pref- 

* Right Honorable Henry Dundas. 

■ Vk\ 


? 'ill 




ace to this part of the ministerial arrangement, und 
you would imagine that this debt was to be crushed, 
with all the weight of indignation which could fall 
from a vigilant guardian of the public treasury upon 
those who attempted to rob it. What must be felt by 
every man who has feeling, when, after such a thun- 
dering preamble of condemnation, this debt is ordered 
to be paid without any sort of inquiry into its authen- 
ticity, — without a single step taken to settle even 
the amount of the demand, — without an attempt 
so much as to ascertain the real persons claiming 
a sum which rises in the accounts from one million 
three hundred thousand pound sterlirg to two million 

four hundred thousand pound, princij,^! money,* 

without an attempt made to ascertain tlio proprietors, 
of wliom no list has ever yet been laid before the 
Court of Directors, — of proprietors who are known to 
be in a collusive shuffle, by wliich they never appear 
to be the same in any two lists handed about for 
their own particular purposes? 

Mr honorable friend who made you the motion 
has sufficiently exposed the nature of this debt. He 
has stated to you, that its own agents, in the year 
1781, in the arrangement they proposed to make at 
Calcutta, were satisfied to have twenty-five per cent 
at once struck oflF from the capital of a great part of 
this debt, and prayed to have a provision made for 
this reduced principal, without any interest at all. 
This was an arrangement of their own, an arrange- 
ment made by those who best knew the true constitu- 
tion of their own debt, who knew how little favor it 
merited,! and how little hopes they had to find ^nj 

• Appendix to the 4th Report of Mr. Dundas's committee, No 15. 
1 " No sense of the common danger, in case of a war, can prevaU 




persons in authority abandoned enough to support it 
as it stood. 

But what corrupt men, in the fond imaginations 
of a songuine avarice, liad not the confidence to pro- 
pose, they liave found a Chancellor of the Exchequer 
in England hardy enough to undertake for them. 
He has cheered their drooping spirits. He has 
thanked the peculators for not despairing of their 
commonwealth. He has told them they were too 
modest. He has replaced the twenty-five per cent 
which, in order to lighten themselves, they had aban- 
doned in their conscious terror. Instead of cutting oflf 
the interest, as they had themselves consented to do, 
with the fourth of the capital, he has added the whole 
growth of four years' usury of twelve per cent to 
the first overgrown principal ; and has again grafted 
on this meliorated stock a perpetual annuity of six 
per cent, to take place from the year 1781. Let no 
man hereafter talk of the decaying energies of Nature. 
All the acts and monuments in the records of pecula- 
tion, the consolidated corruption of ages, the patterns 
of exemplary plunder in the heroic times of Roman 
iniquity, never equalled the gigantic corruption of 
this single act. Never did Nero, in all the insolent 

on him [the Nabob of Arcot] to furnish the Company with what ia 
absolutely necessary to assemble an army, though it is beyond n 
doubt that money to a large amount is now hoarded up in his cof- 
fers at Chcpauk ; and tnnkaws are granted to individuals, upon some 
of his most valuable countries, for payment of part of those debts which 
he has contracted, and which certainly will rot bear inspection, ns neither 
debtor nor creditors have ever had the confidence to submit the accounts to 
our examination, though they expressed a wish to consolidate the 
debts under the auspices of this government, agreeably to a plan 
they had formed." — Madras Consultations, 20th July, 1778. Mr. 
Pimdas's Appendix to 2nd Report, 14.3. t'n' :ll^o hust Appendix tu 
ditto llcport, No. 376, B. 

VOL. III. 4 


!? S 

prodigality of despotism, deal out to his praetorian 
guards a delation fit to be named with tlie largess 
showered down by the bounty of our Chancellor of 
the Exchequer on the faithful band of his Indian 

The right honorable gentleman* lets you freely 
and voluntarily into the whole transaction. So per- 
fectly has his conduct confounded his understand- 
ing, that he fairly tells you that through the course 
of the whole business he has never conferred with 
any but the agents of the pretended creditors. Af- 
ter this, do vou want more to establish a secret 
understanding with tlie parties, — to fix, beyond a 
doubt, tlieir collusion and participation in a common 
fraud ? 

If this were not enough, he has furnished you witli 
other presumptions that are not to be shaken. It is 
one of tlie known indications of guilt to stagger and 
prevaricate in a story, and to vary in the motives 
that are assigned to conduct. Try these ministers 
by this rule. In their official dispatch, they tell the 
Presidency of Madras that they have established the 
debt for two reasons: first, because the Nabob (the 
party indebted) does not dispute it; secondly, be- 
cause it is mischievous to keep it longer afloat, 
and that the payment of the European creditors will 
promote circulation in the country. These two mo- 
tives (for the plainest reasons in the world) the right 
honorable gentleman has this day thought fit totally 
to abandon. In the first place, he rejects the author- 
ity of the Nabob of Arcot. It would, indeed, be pleas- 
ant to see him adhere to this exploded testimony. 
He next, upon grounds equally solid, abandons the 

• Mr. Duados. 


benefits of that circulation which was to be produced 
by drawing out all the juices of the body. Laying 
aside, or forgetting, these pretences of his dispatch, 
he has just now assumed a principle totally different, 
but to the full as extraordinary. He proceeds upon 
a supposition that many of the claims may be ficti- 
tious. Ho then finds, that, in a case where many 
valid and many fratidulent claims are blended to- 
gether, the best course for their discriminatioi. is 
indiscriminately to establish them all. He trusts, 
(I suppose,) as there may not be a fund sufficient 
for every description of creditors, that the best war- 
ranted claimants will exert themselves in brino-iug 
to light those debts which will not bear an inquiry. 
What he will not do himself he is persuaded will 
be done by others ; and for this purpose he leaves to 
any person a general power of excepting to the debt. 
Tliis total change of language and prevarication in 
principle is enough, if it stood alone, to fix the pre- 
sumption of unfair dealing. His dispatch assigns 
motives of policy, concord, trade, and circulation : 
his speech proclaims discord and litigations, and pro- 
poses, as the ultimate end, detection. 

But he may shift his reasons, and wind and turn 
as he will, confusion waits him at all liis doubles. 
Wlio will undertake tliis detection? Will the Na- 
bob? But the right honorable gentleman has him- 
self this moment told us that no prince of the 
country can by any motive be prevailed upon to 
discover any fraud that is practised upon him by 
the Company's servants. He says what (witii the 
exception of the complaint against the Cavalry Loan) 
all the world knows to be true : and without tliat 
prince's concurrence, wli:it evidence can be had of 

ji r 



the fraud of any the smallest of these demands? 
The ministers never authorized any person to enter 
into his exchequer and to search his records. Why, 
then, this shameful and insulting mockery of a pre- 
tended contest? Already contests for a preference 
have arisen among these rival bond-creditors. Has 
not the Company itself struggled for a preference for 
years, witliout any attempt at detection of the nature 
of those debts with which they contended ? Well is 
the Nabob of Arcot attended to in tlie only specific 
complaint he has ever made. He complained of un- 
fair dealing in the Cavalry Loan. It is fixed upon 
him with interest on interest; and this loan is ex- 
cepted from all power of litigation. 

This day, and not before, the right honorable gen- 
tleman tliinks that the general establishment of all 
claims is the surest way of laying open the fraud of 
some of them. In India this is a reach of deep pol- 
icy. But what would be thought of this mode of 
acting on a demand upon the Treasury in England ? 
Instead of all this cunning, is tliere not one plain 
way open, —that is, to put the burden of the proof on 
those wlio make the demand? Ought not ministry 
to have said to the creditors, •' The person who ad- 
mits your debt stands excepted to as evidence; lie 
stands charged as a collusive party, to hand over tlie 
public revenues to you for sinister purposes. You 
say, you have a demand of some millions on tlie In- 
dian Treasury ; prove that you have acted by lawful 
authority ; prove, at least, that your money has been 
bond fide advanced ; entitle yourself to my protec- 
tion by the fairness and fulness of the communica- 
tions you make " ? Did an honest cred itor ever refuse 
that reasonable and honest test ? 





There is little doubt that several individuals have 
been seduced by the purveyors to the Nabob of Ar- 
cot to put their money (perhaps the whole of honest 
and laborious earnings) into their hands, and that at 
such high interest as, being condemned at law, leaves 
them at the mercy of the great managers whom they 
trusted. These seduced creditors are probably per- 
sons of no power or interest either in England or In- 
dia, and may bo just objects of compassion. By tak- 
ing, in this arrangement, no measures for discrimina- 
tion and discovery, the fraudulent and the fair are in 
the first instance confounded in one mass. The subse- 
quent selection and distribution is left to the Nabob. 
With him the agents and instruments of his corrup- 
tion, whom he sees to be onmipotent in England, and 
who may serve him in future, as they have done in 
times past, will have precedence, if not an exclusive^ 
preference. These leading interests domineer, and \ 
have always domineered, over the whole. By this I 
arrangement, the persons seduced are made depend- > 
ent on their seducers ; honesty (comparative honesty 
at least) must become of the party of fraud, and 
must quit its proper character and its just claims, to 
entitle itself to the alms of bribery and peculation. 

But be these English creditors what they may, the 
creditors most certainly not fraudulent are the na- 
tives, who are numerous and wretched indeed: by 
exhausting the whole revenues of the Carnatic, noth- 
ing is left for them. They lent bond fide ; in all prob- 
ability they were even forced to lend, or to give goods 
and service for the Nabob's obligations. Tlicy had no / 
trusts to carry to his market. They had no faith of 
alliances to sell. They had no nations to betray to 
robbery and ruin. They liad no lawful government 



Bcditiously to overturn ; nor had they a governor, to 
whom it is owing that you exist in India, to deliver 
over to captivity, and to death in a shameful prison.* 
These were the merits of the principal part of the 
debt of 1777, and the universally conceived causes 
of its growth ; and thus the unhappy natives are de- 
prived of every hope of payment for their real debts, 
to make provision for the arrears of unsatisfied bri- 
bery and treason. You see in this instance that the 
presumption of guilt is not only no exception to tlie 
demands on the public treasury, but with these min- 
isters it is a necessary condition to their support. 
But that you may not thhik this preference solely 
owuig to their known contempt of the natives, who 
ought with every generous mind to claim their first 
charities, you will find the same rule religiously 
observed with Europeans too. Attend, Sir, to this 
decisive case. Since the beginning of the war, be- 
sides arrears of every kind, a bond-debt has been 
contracted at Madras, uneortain in its amount, but 
represented from four hundred thousand pound to 
a million sterling. It stands only at the low interest 
of eight per cent. Of the legal authority on which 
this debt was contracted, of its purposes for the very 
being of the state, of its publicity and fairness, no 
doubt has been entertained for a moment. For this 
debt no sort of provision whatever has been made. 
It is rejected as an outcast, whilst the wliole undissi- 
pated attention of the minister has been employed 
for the discharge of claims entitled to his favor by 
the merits we have seen. 

I have endeavored to find out, if possible, the 
amount of the whole of those demands, in order to 

• Lord Pigot. 




f -i 

Beo how much, supposing the country in a condition 
to furnish tlio fund, may remain to satisfy the public 
debt and tlie necessary ostablishmouts. But I have 
been foiled in my attempt. 

About one fourth, that is, about 220,000^., of the 
loan of 1707 remains unpaid. How much interest is 
in arrear I could never discover : seven or eiglit years' 
at least, wliich would make the whole of that debt 
about 390,000^ This stoclc, which the niinistei-s in 
tlieir instructions to the Governor of Madras state as 
the least exceptionable, they have thought proper to 
distinguish by a marked severity, leaving it the only 
one on which the interest is not added to the principal 
fo beget a new interest. 

The Cavalry Loan, by the operation of the same au- 
thority, is made up to 29-l,000Z. ; and this 294,000^., 
made up of principal and intei-est, is crowned with a 
new interest of twelve per cent. 

What the grand loan, the bribery loan of 1777, 
may be is amongst the doci>ei-t mysteries of state. 
It is prol)ably the first debt e\or assuming the title 
of Cons "■'Nation tliat did liot express what the amount 
of the > I consolidated was. It is little less than a 
contradic. ju in terms. In the debt of the year 1707 
the sura was stated in the act of consolidation, and 
made to amount to 880,000?. capital. Wlien this 
consolidation of 1777 was first announced at the Dur- 
bar, it was represented authentically at 2,400,000Z. 
In that, or rather in a higher state, Sir Thomas Rum- 
bold found and condemned it.* It afterwards fell 

4r ^i 

» In Sir Thomas RumboM's letter to the Court of Directors, 
March 15th, 177S, he represents it as hiu-licr, in the following: manner: 
— "How slmll I paint to you in. -.istonir'.ment, on my arrival here, 
wrhen I was ir.iormed, that, ir.djpcmlci'.t of this four lues of pagodu* 


into such a terror as to sweat away a million of its 
weight at once ; and it sunk to l,400,000/.» How- 
ever, it never was without a resource for recruiting it 
to its old plumpness. There was a sort of floating 
debt of about four or five hundred thousand pounds 
more ready to be added, as occasion should require. 

In short, whoa you pressed this sensitive-plant, it 
always contracted its dimensions. When the rude 
hand of inquiry was withdrawn, it expanded in all 
the luxuriant vigor of its original vegetation. In the 
treaty of 1781, the whole of the Nabob's debt to pri- 
vate Europeans is by Mr. Sulivan, agent to the Na- 
bob and his creditors, stated at 2,800,000^., which, if 
the Cavalry Loan and tlie remains of the debt of 1767 
be subtracted, leaves it nearly at the amount origi- 
nally declared at the Durbar in 1777: but then 

[the Cavalry Loan], independent of the Nabob's debt to his old cred- 
itors, and the money due to the Company, he had contracted a debt 
to the enormous amount of sixty-three lac« of pagodas [2,520,000/.]. 
I mention this circumstance to you with horwr; for the creditors 
bemg in general servant, of the Company renders my task, on the part 
of the Company, dlffic^ and invidious." <• I have freed the sanction 
of this government from so corrupt a transaction. It is in mv mind 
the most venal of all proceedings to give the Company's protection to 
debts that cannot bear the light ; and though it appears exceedingly 
alarmnip, that a country on which you are to depend for resources 
should be so involved as to be nca-ly three years' revenue in debt,- 
m a country, too, where one year's .ovenue -an never be calkvl src'ur' 
by men who know anything of the politics of this part ot India."' 
-I think it proper to mention to yon, that, although l/ie NaUy r./mH, 
hispnme dU to amount to upwards o sixty lacs, yet I undcrsta.ul that 
It IS not quite 80 much." ..rterwards Sir Thomas Rumbold rcrora- 
mended this debt to the favorable attention of the Company, but with- 
out any sufficient reason for his change of disposition. ' However, 
he went no further. 

• Nabob's proposals, November 25th, 1778; and memorial of the 
creditors, March 1st, 1779. 


there is ^ private instruction to Mr. Sulivan, which, 
it seems, will reduce it again to the lower standard of 

Failing in all my attempts, by a direct accomt, to 
ascertain the extent of the capital claimed, (w! re in 
all probability no capital was ever advanced,) I en- 
deavored, if possible, to discover it by the interest 
which was to be paid. For that purpose, I looked to 
the several agreements for assigning the territories of 
the Carnatic to secure the principal and interest of this 
debt. Ill one of them,* I found, in a sort of postscript, 
by way of an additional remark, (not in the body of 
the obligation,) the debt represented at 1,400,000^.: 
but when I computed the sums to be paid for interest 
by instalments in another paper, I found they produced 
an interest of two millions, at twelve per cent ; and 
the assignment supposed, that, if these instalments 
might exceed, they might also fall short of, the real 
provision for that interest.f Another instalment-bond 
was afterwards granted : in that l)ond the interest ex- 
actly tallies with a capital of 1,400,000?. : J but pur- 
suing this capital through the correspondence, I lost 
sight of it again, and it was asserted that this instal- 
ment-bond was considerably short of the interest that 
ought to be computed to the time mentioned. § 

Here are, therefore, two statements of equal au- 
thority, differing at least a million from each other ; 
and as neither persons claiming, nor any special sum 
as belonging to each particular claimant, is ascertained 

• NiifKjb's proposals to his new consolidated creditors, November 
2Sth, 1778. 
T Paper signed by the Nabob, 6th January, 1780. 
J Kistbundi to July 31, 1780. 
§ Governor's letter to the Nabob, 25th July, 1779. 






in the instruments of consolidation, or in the instal- 
ment-bonds, a largo scope was loft to throw in any 
Hims for any pcr.vons, as their merits in udvancini? 
the interest of that loan miglit require ; a power was 
also left for roductlon, in case a harder liand, or more 
i-caaty funds, might bo found to require it. Stronger 
grounds for a presumption of fraud never appeared 
>n any transaction. But the ministers, faithful to 
the plan of the interested persons, whom alone they 
thouglit tit to confer with on this occasion, have 
ordered the payment of the whole mass of these 
unknown, unliquidated sunn;, without an attempt to 
ascertain them. On this conduct. Sir, I leave you to 
make your own reflections. 

It is impossible (at least I have found it impossi- 
ble) to fix on the real amount of tlie pretended debts 
with winch your ministers have thought proper to 
load the Carnatic. They are obscure; tliey shun in- 
quiry ; they are enormous. Tiiat is all you know of 

That you may judge wiiat chance any honorable 
and useful end of government has for a provision 
that comes in for the leavings of these gluttonous 
demands, I must take it on myself to hnv<r before 
you the real condition of that abused, insulted 
racked, and ruined country; though in truth my 
jnnid rcu,lts from it, though you will hear it with 
horror, and I confess I tremble when I tliink on 
these awful and confounding dispensations of Provi- 
dence. I shall first trouble you with a few words as 
to the cause. 

The great fortunes made in India, in the begin- 
inngs of conquest, naturally excited an emulation 
m all the parts and through tlie whole succession 



of the Company's scrvico. But in the Coraiiiny it 
gave rise to other Kentimeuts. They did not find the 
new channels of ac<juisition liow with equal riches to 
them. On the contrary, the hij^h tiood-tide of j li- 
vate emolument was giuorally in the lowest ebb of 
their affairs. They begun also to fear that tlio for- 
tune of war might take away what the fortune of war 
had given. Wars were accordingly discouraged by 
repeated injunctions and menacos: a. id that tlie ser- 
vants might not be bribed into thuiu by the native 
princes, they were strictly fori idden to take any 
money whatsoever from their hand; But vehement 
passion is ingenious in resources. The Company's 
^ rvants were not only stimulated, but better in- 
structed by the prohibition. Tliey soon fell u[)on a 
contrivance wliich answered their purposes far better 
than tlie methods which were forbidden : though in 
this also they violated an ancient, but tliey thouirht, 
an abrogated order. They reversed their proceed- 
ings. Instead of receiving presents, they made loans. 
Instead of carrying on wars in their own name, they 
contrived an autliority, at once irresistible and irre- 
sponsible, in who«e name they might ravage at pleas- 
ure ; and being thus freed from all i u.-traint, they 
indulged themselves in the most extravagant specula- 
tions of plunder. The cabal of creditors who iiave 
been the object of the late bountiful grant from his 
Majesty's ministers, in order to possess themselves, 
under the name of ci'editors and assignees, of every 
country in India, as fast as it should be conquered, 
inspired into the mind of the Nabob of Arcot (then a 
dependant on the Company of the Imniblest order) a 
scheme of the most wild and desperate ambition that 
I believe ever was admitted into the thouglits of a 





I. n 

i\ i 

man so situated.' First, they persuaded him to con- 
sider himself as a principal member in the political 
system of Europe. In the next place, they held out to 
him, and he readily imbibed, tlie idea of the general 
empire of ilindostan. As a preliminary to this under- 
taking, they prevailed on him to propose a tripartite 
division of that vast country : one part to the Com- 
pany; another to the Mahrattas; and the third to him- 
self. To himself he reserved all the southern part of 
the groat peninsula, comprehended under the gener- 
al name of the Deccan. 

On this scheme of their servants, the Company was 
to appear in the Carnatic in no other light than as 
a contractor for the provision of armies, and tlie hire 
of mercenaries for his use and under his direction. 
This disposition was to be secured by the Nabob's 
putting himself under the guaranty of France, and, 
by the means of that rival nation, preventing the 
English forever from assuming an equality, mucli 
less a superiority, in the Carnatic. In pursuance of 
this treasonable project, (treasonable on the part of 
the English,) they extinguished the Company as a 
sovereign power in that part of India; they with- 
drew the Company's garrisons out of all tlie forts 
and strongholds of the Carnatic; they declined to 
receive the ambassadors from foreign courts, and re- 
mitted them to the Nabob of Arcot ; they fell upon, 
and totally destroyed, the oldest ally of the Company, 
the king of Tanjore, and -luadered the country to 

• !?eport of the Select Coramittte, Madras Consultations, January 
7, 1771. See also papers published by the order of the Court of Di- 
rcnors in 17.6; and Lord Macartney's correspondence with Mr. 
llastiiigs and the Nabob of Arcot. Sec aLo Mr. Dundas's Appendix, 
No 376, B. Nabob's propositions throu-h Mr. Sulivau and Aasam 
Khan, Art. 6, and indeed the whole. 


the amount of near five millions sterling ; one af- 
ter another, in the Nabob's name, but with English 
force, they brought into a miserable servitude all 
the princes and great independent nobility of a vast 
country.* In proportion to these treasons and vio- 
lences, which ruined the people, the fund of the Na- 
Dob's del)t grew and flourished. 

Among tlie victims to this magnificent plan of uni- 
versal plunder, worthy of the heroic avarice of the 
projectors, you have all heard (and he has made 
himself to be well remembered) of an Indian chief 
called Hyder Ali Ehan. This man possessed the 
western, as the Company, under the name of the Na- 
bob of Arcot, does the eastern division of the Carnatic. 
It was among the leading measures in the design 
of this cabal (according to their own emphatic lan- 
guage) to extirpate this Hyder Ali.f Tlicy declared 
the Nabob of Arcot to be his sovereign, and himself 
to be a rebel, and publicly invested their instrument 
with the sovereignty of the kingdom of Mysore. But 
their victim was not of the passive kind. Tlicy wore 
soon obliged to conclude a treaty of peace and close 
alliance with this rebel, at the gates of Madras. Both 
before and since that treaty, every principle of policy 

• " The principal object of the expedition is, to get money from 
Tanjore to pay the Nabob's debt : if a snrplas, to be applied in dis- 
charge of the Natrob's debts to his private creditors." (Consultations, 
March 20, 1771 ; and for further lights. Consultations, 12th Jane, 
1771.) "We are alarmed lest this debt to individuals should have 
been the rod motive for the nggrnndizcment of Mahomed Ali [the 
Nabob of Arcot], and that ue are plunged into a tear to put him in 
i)03scssion of the Mysore revenues fn- the discharge of the debt." — Let- 
ter from the Directors, March 17, 1769. 

t Letter from the Nabob, May 1st, 1768; and ditto, 24th ApriJ, 
\770, 1st October; ditto, 16th September, 1772, 16th March, 1773. 




pointed out this power as a natural alliance ; and en 
his part it was courted bj every sort of amicable 
office. But the cabinet council of English creditors 
would not suffer their Nabob of Arcot to sign the 
treaty, nor even to give to a prince at least his 
equal the ordinary titles of respect and courtesy.* 
From that time forward, a continued plot was car- 
ried on within the divan, black and white, of the 
Nabob of Arcot, for the destruction of Hyder Ali. 
As to the outward members of the double, or rather 
treble government of Madras, which had signed the 
treaty, they were always prevented by some over- 
ruling influence (which they do not describe, but 
which cannot be misunderstood) from performing 
what justice and interest combined so evidently to 

When at length Hyder Ali found that he had to 
do with men who either would sign no convention, 
or whom no treaty and no signature could bind, and 
who wore the determined enemies of human inter- 
course itself, he decreed to malio tlie country possess- 
ed by these incorrigible and predestinated criminals 
a moniorabie example to mankind. He resolved, 
in thy gloomy recesses of a mind capacious of such 
things, to leave the whole Camatic an everlasting 
r monument of vengeance, and to put perpetual deso- 
: lation as a bar r between him and those against 
J whom the fait,. ..hich holds the moral elements of 
' the w orld together was no protection. He became at 
length so confident of his force, so collected in his 
might, that he made no secret whatsoever of his 

• Letter from the Presidency at Madras to the Court of Directors, 
STthJune, 1769. 
t Mr. Dundas'g ci mraittee, Hcport I., Appendix, No. 29. 


dreadful resolution. Having terminated liis disputes 
•with every enemy and every rival, who buried their 
mutual animosities in their common detestation 
against tlie creditors of the Nahob of Arcot, he 
drew from every quarter whatever a savage feroci- 
ty could add to his new rudiments in the arts of 
destruction ; and compounding all the materials of 
fury, liavoc, and desolation into one black cloud, ho 
huntr for a while on the declivities of the mountains. 
Whilst the authors of all these evils were idly and 
stupidly gazing on this menacing meteor, wliich 
blackened all their horizon, it suddenly burst, and 
poured down the whole of its contents iipon the 
plains of the Carnatic. Then ensued a scene of 
woe, the like of which no eye had seen, no heart 
conceived, and which no tongue can adequately tell. 
All the horrors of war before known or heard of 
were mercy to that new havoc. A storm of univer- 
sal fire blasted every field, consumed every house, 
destroyed every temple. The miserable inliabitants, 
flying from their flaming villages, in part wore 
slaughtered ; others, without regard to sex, to ago, 
to the respect of rank or sacredness of function, 
fathers torn from children, husbands from wives, 
enveloped in a whirlwind of cavalry, and amidst 
the goading spears of drivers, and the trampling 
of pursuing horses, were swept into captivity in an 
unknown and hostile land. Those who were able to 
evade this tempest fled to the walled cities ; but es- 
caping from fire, sword, and exile, they fell into tlie 
jaws of famine. 

The alms of the settlement, in this dreadful exi- 
gency, were certainly liberal ; and all was done by 
charity that private chanty could do: but it was a 





people in beggary ; it was a nation which stretched 
out its hands for food. For montlis together, these 
creatures of sufferance, whose very excess and lux- 
ury in their most plenteous days had fallen short of 
the allowance of our austcrest fasts, silent, patient, 
resigned, witliout sedition or disturbance, almost 
witliout complaint, perished by an hundred a day in 
the streets of Madras; every day seventy at least 
laid their bodies in the streets or on the glacis of 
Tanjore, and expired of famine in the granary of 
India. I was going to awake your justice towards 
this unliappy part of our fellow-citizens, by bringing 
before you some of the circumstances of this plague 
of hunger: of all the calamities which beset and 
waylay the life of man, this comes tlie nearest to 
our heart, and is that wherein the pi-oudost of us 
all feels himself to bo nothing more than he is : but 
I find myself unable to manage it with decorum ; 
these details are of a species of horror so nauseous 
and disgusting, they are so degrading to the suffer- 
ers and to the hearers, they are so humiliating to 
human nature itself, tliat, on better thoughts, I find 
it more advisable to throw a pall over this liideous 
object, and to leave it to your general conceptions. 
For oigliteen montlis,* without intermission, this 
destruction raged from the gates of Madras to the 
gates of Tanjore ; and so completely did tlicse mas- 
ters in thoir art, Hyder Ali and his more ferocious 
son, absolve tliemselves of their impious vow, that, 
when the IJiitish armies traversed, as tliey did, tlie 
Carnatic for hundreds of miles in all directions, 
through tlie whole line of tlieir march they did not 
see one man, not one woman, not one child, not one 

• Appendix, Ko. 4, Report of the Committee of Assj-ned Revenue. 





four-footed beast of any description whatever. One 
dead, uniform silence reigned over tlie whole region. 
With the inconsiderable exceptions of the narrow vi- 
cinage of some few forts, I wish to be understood as 
speaking literally. I mean to produce to you more 
than three witnesses, above all exception, who will 
support this assertion in its full extent. That hurii- 
cane of war passed through every part of the central 
provinces of the Carnatic. Six or seven districts to 
the nortii and to the south (and these not wholly un- 
touched) escaped the general ravage. 

The Carnatic is a country not much inferior in ex- 
tent to England. Figure to yourself, Mr. Fpeakcr, 
the land in whose representative chair you sit ; figiuo 
to yourself the form and fashion of your sweet and 
cheerful country from Tliames to Trent, north and 
south, and from the Irish to the German Sea, east and 
west, emptied and cmbowelled (may God avert the 
omen of our crimes !) by so accomplished a desolation. 
Extend your imagination a little further, and then sup- 
pose your ministers taking a survey of this scene of 
waste and desolation. What would be your thoughts, 
if you should be informed that they wore computing 
how much had been the amount of the excise'^, how 
much the customs, how mucii the land and malt tax, 
in order that they should charge (take it in tlio most 
favorable light) for public service, upon the relics 
of the satiated vengeance of relentless enemies, tlio 
whole of wluit England had yielded in the most ex- 
uberant seasons of peace and abundance? Wiuit 
would you call it? To call it tyranny sul)limed into 
madness would bo too faint an image ; yet this very 
madness is the principle upon which the ministers at 
your right hand have proceeded in their estinuite of 

yoL. III. 5 


r * ,^ 

..t : 

14 I 








the revenues of the Carnatic, when they were pro- 
viding, not supply for the establishments of its pro- 
tection, but rewards for the authors of its ruin. 

Every day you arc fatigued and disgusted with this 
cant, " The Carnatic is a country that will soon re- 
cover, and become instantly as prosperous as ever." 
They think they are talking to innocents, who will 
believe, that, by sowing of dragons' teeth, men may 
come up ready grown and ready armed. They wlio 
will give themselves the trouble of considering (for 
it requires no great reach of thought, no very pro- 
found knowledge) the manner in which mankind are 
increased, and countries cultivated, will regard all 
this raving as it ought to be regarded. In order tliat 
the people, after a long period of vexation and plun- 
der, may be in a condition to maintain goverimient, 
government must begin by maintaining them. Here 
tl\e road to economy lies not through receipt, but 
tin-ough expense ; and in that country Nature has 
given no short cut to your object. Men must propa- 
gate, like other animals, by the mouth. Never did 
oppresi^iou light the nuptial torch ; never did extor- 
tion and usury spread out the genial bed. Does 
any of you think that England, so wasted, would, 
under siich a nursing attendance, so rapidly and 
cheaply recover ? But he is meanly acquainted with 
cither England or India who does not know that Eng- 
land would a thousand times sooner resume popula- 
tion, fertility, and what ought to be the ultimate 
secretion from both, revenue, than such a country 
as the Carnatic. 

The Carnatic is not by the bounty of Nature a fertile 
soil. The general size of its cattle is proof enough that 
it is much otherwise. It is some days since I moved 





that a ciirions and interesting map, kept in the India 
House, should be laid before you.* The India House 
is not yet in readiness to send it ; I have therefore 
brought down my own copy, and there it lies for the 
use of any gentleman who may think such a matter 
worthy of his attention. It is, indeed, a noble map, 
and of noble things ; but it is decisive against the 
golden dreams and sanguine speculations of avarice 
run mad. In addition to what you know must bo 
the case in every part of the world, (the necessity of 
a previous provision of habitation, seed, stock, capi- 
tal,) that map will show you that the uses of the in- 
fluences of Heaven itself are in that country a woi-k 
of art. The Carnatic is refreshed by few or no living 
brooks or running streams, and it has rain only at a 
season ; but its product of rice exacts the use of wa- 
ter subject to perpetual command. This is the na- 
tional bank of the Carnatic, on which it must have 
a perpetual credit, or it perishes irretrievably. For 
that reason, in the happier times of India, a number, 
almost incredible, of reservoirs have been made in 
chosen places throughout the whole country : they 
arc formed, for the greater part, of mounds of earth 
and stones, with sluices of solid masonry ; the whole 
constructed with admirable skill and labor, and main- 
tained at a mighty charge. In the territory contained 
in that map alone, I have been at the trouble of 
reckoning the reservoirs, and they amount to upwards 
of eleven hundred, from the extent of two or tliieo 
acres to five miles in circuit. From these reservoirs 
currents are occasionally drawn over the fields, and 
these watercourses again call for a considerable ex- 
pense to keep them properly scoured and duly lev- 

• Mr. Barnard's map of the Jaghirc. 



p.. 1 

ellod. Taking the district in that map as a measure, 
there cannot bo in the Carnatic aud Taiijore tower 
tlian ten tliousaud of these reservoirs of the larger 
and middling dimensions, to say nothing of those for 
domestic services, and tiie use of religious purificor 
tion. These are not the enterprises of your power, nor 
in a style of magnificence suited to the taste of your 
minister. These are the monuments of real kings, 
who were the fathers of their people, — testators to a 
posterity which they embrac' d as their own. These 
are the <rrand sepulchres built by ambition, — but 
by the ambition of an insatiable benevolence, which, 
not contented with reigning in tlie dispensation of 
happiness during the contracted term of human life, 
had strained, with all the reacliings and graspings of 
a vivacious mind, to extend the dominion of their 
bounty beyond the limits of Mature, and to perpetu- 
ate themselves through generations of generations, the 
guardians, the protectors, the nourishers of mankind. 
Long before the late invasion, tlic persons wlio are 
objects of the grant of public money now before you 
had so diverted tlie supply of tlie pious funds of cul- 
ture and population, tiiat evorywliere the reservoirs 
were fallen into a miseraolc decay.* But after tlioso 
domestic enemies had provoked the c ;:ry of a cruel 
fi ;-eign foe intr the country, he did not leave it, until 
his ?'evcnge had completed uie destrucliou begun by 
their avarice. Fuw. very few indeed, of these maga- 
zines of water tiiat are not either totally dostmyed or 
cut through with sucli gaps as to require a serious 
attention and much cost to rei-stablisli them, as the 
means of present subsistence to the p^iople and of fu- 
ture revenue to the late. 

• &cf RepoiL IV., Mr. Dumli'^'s corn' iitce, p. 46. 


What, Sir, would a virtuous and enlightened min- 
istry do, on the view of tlie ruins of such worlis before 
tliem? — on tlio view of such a chasm of desolation 
as that which yawned in the midst of those countries, 
to the north and soutli, which still bore some vestiges 
of cultivation ? Tliey would have reduced all their 
most necessary establishments ; they would have sus- 
pended the justest payments ; they would have cm- 
ployed every shilling derived from the producing to 
reanimate the powers of the unproductive parts. 
Wlillo they were performing this fundamental duty, 
whilst they were celebrating these mysteries of justieo 
and humanity, they would have told the corps of fic- 
titious creditors, wlioso crimes were their claims, that 
they must Icecp an awful distance, — that they must 
silence th^ir inauspicious tongues, — that tlicy must 
hold olT tlioir profan j, unhallowed paws from this holy 
work ; tlic) would have proclaimed, with a voice that 
should make itself heard, that on every country the 
first cr'^ditor is the plough, — that tliis original, inde- 
feasible claim supersedes every other demand. 

This is what a wise and virtuous muiistry would 
have do 10 and said. Tliis, therefore, is what our 
minister could never think of saying or doing. A. 
ministry of another kind would have first improved 
tlij country, and have thus laid a solid foundation for 
future opulence and future force. But on this grand 
point of the restoration of the country tliero is not 
one syllable to be found in the correspondence of our 
ministers, from the first to the last ; they felt noliiiug 
for a land desolated by fire, sword, and famine : their 
sympathies took another direction ; they were touched 
with pity for bribery, so long tormented with a fruit- 
less itching of its palms; their bowels yearned for 

■ .a - 




usury, that liai? long missed the harvest of its re- 
turiuiig months ; * they felt fur peculation, which had 
been for so many years raliing in the dust of an emjity 
treasury ; they were melted into compassion for rapine 
and oppression, licking their dry, parched, unbloody 
jaws. These were the objects of tlieir solicitude. 
These were the necessities for which they were stu- 
dious to provide. 

To state the country and its revenues in their real 
condition, and to provide for those fictitious claims, 
consistently with the support of an anuy and a civil 
establishment, would have been impossible ; therefore 
the ministers are silent on that head, and rest them- 
selves on the authority of Lord Macartney, who, in a 
le^tter to the Court of Directors, written in the year 
1781, speculating on what might bo the result of a 
wise management of tlie countries assigned by the 
Nabob of Arcot, rates tho revenue, as in time of 
peace, at twelve hundred thousand jwunds a year, as 
he does those of the king of Tanjuro (which had not 
been assigned) at four hundred and fifty. On this 
Lord Macartuey grounds iiis calculations, and on this 
V.wy elioose to ground theirs. It was on this calcula- 
tion that tlio ministry, in direct opposinon to the re- 
monstrances of the Court of Directors, have compelled 
that miserablu eiislavod body to put tlieir liands to 
an order lor appropriating the enormous sum uf 
4SU,000/. ai-nually, as a fund for paying to tiioir 
rebellious servants a debt contracted in defiance of 
tlieir clcarett and most positive hijunctions. 

The aufliority and information of Lord Macartney 
is held high on this occasion, though it is totally re- 
jocted in every other particular of this business, i 

* Interest is ratcj in lujia by the month. 



believe I liavo tlio honor of boiag almost as old an 
acqiiaiutauce as any Lord Macartney has. A con- 
stant and unbroken friendship lias siibsistcd bctweeu 
us li-oni a very early period ; and 1 trust ho thinks, 
that, as I respect his character, and in general adniiro 
his conduct, I am one of those who feel no common 
interest in his reputation. Yet I do not hesitate 
wholly to disallow the calculation of 1781, without 
any aj)prehi.nsiou that I shall appear to distrust his 
veracity or his judgment. This peace estimate of 
revenue was not grounded on the state of the Carnat- 
ic, as it then, or as it had recently, stood. It was a 
statement of former and better times. Tliere is no 
doubt that a period did exist, when the largo portion 
of tho Carnatic held by the Nabob of Arcot might bo 
fairly reputed to produce a revenue to that, or to a 
greater amount. But the whole had so melted away by 
tho slow and silent hostility of op{)ression and mis- 
management, that the revenues, sinking with tho pros- 
perity of the country, had fallen to about 800,000/. 
a year, even before an enemy's horse had imprinted 
his hoof on tho soil of tho Carnatic. From that view, 
and independently of the decisive effects of the war 
wliich ensued, Sir Eyre Coote conceived tiiat years 
must pass before tl>o coun*ry could bo restored to its 
former prosperity and production. It was that state 
of rnvonue (namely, the actual stale before the war) 
vhichtho Directors have opposed to Lord Macartney's 
speculation. They refused to tuko tho revenues for 
more than 800,000?. In this they are justified by 
Lord Macartney himself, who, in a subsequent letter, 
inibrms the court that his sketch is a matter of spec- 
ulation ; it supix)ses tho country restored to its ancient 
prosperity, and the revenue to be in a course of eifeci, 





^B*^ 'SS3 East Moin SIrMi 

S^S Rochester. New York 1*609 USA 

-.aa: (7'6) *82-0300-Ptione 

^= (716) 288- 5969 -Fox 




ive and honest collection. If, therefore, the ministers 
have gone wrong, they were not deceived by Lord 
Macartney : they were deceived by no man. The es- 
timate of the Directors is nearly the very estimate fur- 
nished by the right honorable gentleman himself, and 
published to the world in one of the printed reports 
of his own committee ; * but as soon as he obtained 
his power, he chose to abandon his account. No part 
of his official conduct can be defended on the ground 
of liis Parliamentary information. 

In this clashing of accounts and estimates, ought 
not the mini;stry, if they wished to preserve even ap- 
pearances, to have waited for information of the ac- 
tual result of these speculations, before i.iey laid a 
charge, and such a charge, not conditionally and 
eventually, but positively and authoritatively, upon a 
country which they all know, and whicli one of them 
had registered on the records of this House, to be 
wasted, beyond all example, by every oj)pression of 
an abusive government, and every ravage of a deso- 
lating war? But that you may discern in what 
manner they use the correspondence of office, and 
tiuit tliereby you may enter uito the true spirit of 
the ministerial Board of Control, I desire you, Mr. 
Speaker, to remark, that, through their whole contro- 
versy with the Court of Directors, they do not so 
much as hint at their ever having seen any other 
paper from Lord Macartney, or any other estimate 
of revenue tlian tliis of 1781. To tliis tliey hold. 
Here they take post ; hero they intrench themselves. 
Wlien I first read this curious controversy between 

* Mr. Dundas's committee, Rep. I. p. 9, nnrt ditto, Rep. IV. 69, 
where the reveime of 1777 stated only at 22 lacs, — 30 la.s stated as' 
the revenue, " suj>pos!„g the Ciiraatie to bc^roy/cr/y maim-ed." 




the ministerial board and the Court of Directors, 
common candor obliged me to attribute their tena- 
cious adherence to the estimate of 1781 to a total 
ignorance of wliat had appeared upon the records. 
But the right honorable gentleman has chosen to 
come forward with an uncalled-for »' claration ; he 
boastingly tells you, that he has seen, read, digested, 
compared everything, — and that, if he has suiued, 
he has sinned with his eyes broad open. Since, then, 
the ministers will obstinately shut the gates of mercy 
on themselves, let them add to their crimes what 
aggravations they please. They have, then, (since it 
must be so,) wilfully and corruptly suppressed the 
information which they ought to have produced, 
and, for the support of peculation, have made them- 
selves guilty of spoliation and suppression of evi- 
dence.* The paper I hold in my hand, which totally 
overturns (for the present, at least) tlie estimate of 
1781, they have no more taken notice of, in their 
controversy with the Court of Directors, than if it 
had no existence. It is the report made by a com 
mittee appointed at Madras to manage the wliole of 
the sis countries assigned to the Company by tiie 
Nabob of Arcot. This committee was wisely insti- 
tuted by Lord Macartney, to remove from liimself 
the susjjicion of all improper management in so iuvid- 
ious a trust ; and it seems to have been well chosen. 
This committee has made a comparative estimate of 
the only six districts whidi were in a condition to be 
let to farm. In one set of columns they state the 
gross and net produce of the districts as let by the 
Nabob. To that statement they oppose the terms on 

• See Appendix, No. 4, statement in the IJcjiort of the Cumiuitteo 
of Absigucii Uovunue. 

I.'. » I- ■ ' 


which the same districts were rented for five yeara 
under their authority. Under the Nabob, the gross 
farm was so high as 570,000/. sterling, What Avas the 
clear produce ? Why, no more than about 250,000/. ; 
and tliis was the whole profit of the Nabob's treasury, 
under nis own management of all the districts which 
were in a condition to be let to farm on the 27th of 
May, 1782. Lord Macartney's leases stipulated a 
gross produce of no more than about 530,000/. ; but 
then the estimated net amount was nearly double the 
Nabob's. It, however, did not then exceed 480,000/. ; 
and Lord Macartney's conuuissioners take credit for 
an annual revenue amounting to this clear sum. 
Here is no speculation ; here is no inaccurate account 
clandestinely obtained from those who might wish, and 
were enabled, to deceive. It is the authorized, re- 
corded state of a real, recent transaction. Here is 
not twelve hundred thousand pound, — not eight hun- 
dred. The whole revenue of the Caruatic yielded no 
more, in May, 1782, than four hundred and eighty 
thousand jiounds : nearly the very precise sum which 
your minister, who is so careful of the public securi- 
ty, has carried from all descriptions of establishment 
to form a fund for the private emolument of his crea- 

In this estimate, we sco, as I have ju'^t observed, 
the Nabob's farms rated so liigii as 570,000/. Hith- 
erto all is well : but follow on to the etfective net rev- 
enue ; there the illusion vanislies ; and you will not 
find nearly so much as half the produce. It is witli 
reason, therefore. Lord Macartney invariably, through- 
out the whole correspondence, qualifies all his views 
and expectations of revenue, and all his plans for its 
application, with this indispensable condition, that the 

i ww.i..a.^..^ -: 


management is not in the hands of the Nabob of 
Ai'cot. Should that fatal measm-e take place, ho has 
over and over again told you that he has no prospect 
of realizing anything whatsoever for any public pur- 
pose. With these weighty declarations, confirmed by 
such a state of ludispi'table fact before them, what 
has been done by the Ciiancellor of the Exchequer and 
his accomplices? Shall I be believed? They havo 
delivered over those very territories, on the keeping 
of which in the hands of the committee the defence 
of our dominions, and, what was more dear to them, 
possibly, their own job, denended, — they have deliv- 
ered back again, without condition, without arrange- 
ment, without stipulation of any sort for the natives 
of any rank, the whole of those vast countries, to 
many of which ho had no just claim, into the ruinous 
mismanagement of the Nabob of Arcot. To crown 
all, according to their miserable practice, whenever 
they do anything transcendently absurd, they preface 
this their abdication of their t''ust by a solemn dec- 
laration that they were not obliged to it by any prin- 
ci[)le of policy or any demand of justice whatsoever. 
1 have stated to you the estimated produce of 
the territories of the Carnatic in a condition to bo 
farmed in 1782, according to the dilferent manage- 
ments into which they might fall ; and this estimate 
the mhiisters have thought proper to suppress. Since 
that, two other accounts have been received. The 
first informs us, that there has been a recovery of 
what is called arrear, as well as of an in.;>rovenient 
of the revenue of one of the six provinces which were 
let in 1782.* It was brought about by making a new 
war. After some sharp actions, by the resolution and 

* The province of Tinnevelly. 



' ! I mm 


i ; 

, i 






-} I ill 


skill of Colonel FuUartou several of the petty princoa 
of the most southerly of the unwasted provinces woro 
rampolled to pay very heavy rents and tributes, wlio 
for a long time before had not paid any acknowledg- 
ment. After this reduction, by the care ot Mr. Irwin, 
one of the committee, that province was divided into 
twelve farms. This operation raised the income of 
that particular province ; the others remain as they 
were fust farmed. So that, instead of producing only 
their original rent of 480,000/., they netted, in about 
two years and a quarter, 1,320,0G0Z. sterling, which 
would be about 000,000/. a year, if the recovered 
arrcar was not included. What deduction is to bo 
made on account of that arrear I cannot determine . 
but certainly what would reduce the annual income 
considerably below the rate I have allowed. 

The second account received is the letting of the 
wasted provinces of the Carnntic. This I understand 
is at a growing rent, which may or may not realize 
what it promises; but if it should answer, it will 
raise the whole, at some future time, to 1,200.000/. 

You must here remark, Mr. Speaker, that this rev- 
enue is the produce of all the Nabob's dominions, 
■during t':e assignment, tlie Nabob paid nothing, be- 
cause the Company 'lad all. Supposing the whole of 
the lately assigned territory to yield up to the most 
sanguine expectations of the right honorable gentle- 
man, and suppose 1,200,000/. to be annually real- 
ized, (of which we actually know of no more than the 
realizing of six hundred thousand,) out of tliis you 
musi deduct the subsidy and rent -which the Nabob 
paid bellre the assignment, — namely, 340,000/. a 
year. This reduces back the revenue applicable to 
the new distribution made by his Majesty's minis- 


I ( 

ters to about ROO,OOOZ. Of that sum five eighths are 
by them surrendered to the debts. The remaining 
tliree are the only fund left for all the purposes so 
magnificently displayed in the letter of the Board of 
Control : that is, for a new-cast peace establishment, 
a new fund for ordnance and fortifications, and a 
largo allowance for what they call " the splendor of 
the Durbar." 

You iiavo heard the account of these territories as 
they stood in 1782. You have seen the actual re- 
ceipt since the assignment in 1781,of whicli I reckon 
about two years and a quarter productive. I have 
stated to you the expectation from the wasted part. 
For realizing all this you may value yoursoives on 
the vigor and diligence of a governor and committee 
that have done so much. If those hopes from the 
committee are rational, remember that the cooimit- 
tce is no more. Your ministers, who have formed 
their fund for these debts on the presumed eHoct of 
tlic committee's mmagement, have put a complete 
end to that committee. Their acts are rescinded ; 
their leases are broken ; their renters are dispersed. 
Your ministers knew, when they signed the death- 
warrant of the Carnatic, thai the Nabob would not 
only turn all these unfortunate farmers of revenue 
out of employment, but that he has denounced his 
severest vengeance against them, for artinj^ under 
British authority. With a knowledge of this dis- 
position, a British Chancellor of the Exchequer and 
Treasurer of the Navy, incited by no public advantage, 
impelled by no public necessity, in a strain of the 
most wanton perfidy which has ever stained the an- 
nals of ma. kind, ))ave delivered ov n- to plunder, 
imprisonment, exile, and death itself, according to 


I Mil 


the morcy of such oxecrablo tyrants as Auiir-ul- 
Omrah and Paul Bcnfield, the unhappy and dehided 
souls who, untaught by unifcrra example, were still 
weak enougli to put their trust in English faith.* 
They hare gone farther: they have thought proper 
to mock and outrage their misery by ordering them 
protection and compensation. From what power is 
this protection to be derived, and from what fund 
is this compensation to arise? The revenues are 
delivered over to their oppressor ; the territorial ju- 
risdiction, from whence that revenue is to arise, 
and under which they live, is surrendered to the 
same iron hands: and that they shall be deprived 
of all refuge and all hope, tlie minister has made 
a solemn, voluntary declaration that he never will 
interfere with the Nabob's internal government.! 

The last thing considered by the Board of Control 
among tliu 'lobts of the Carnatic was that arising to 
the East India Company, which, after tlie provision 
for the cavalry, and the consolidation of 1777, was to 
divide the residue of the fund of 480,000^. a year 
with the lenders of 17G7. This debt the worthy 
chairman, who sits opposite to me, contends to be 
three millions sterling. Lord Macartney's account 
of 1781 states it to be at that period 1,200,000^. 
The first account of the Court of Directors makes it 
900,000L This, like the private debt, being without 
any solid existence, is incapable of any distinct lim- 
its. Wliatever its amount or its validity may be, one 
thing is clear: it is of the nature and quality of a 
public debt. In that light nothing is provided for it, 
but an eventual surplus to be divided with one class 

• Appendix, No. 5, 

t See extract of their letter in the Appendix, No. 9. 



of tlic prirato demands, after satisfying the two first 
classes. Never was a more shameful postponing a 
public demand, which, by the reason of the thing, and 
the uniform practice of all nations, supersedes every 
private claim. 

Those who gave this preference to private claims 
consider tlic Company's as a lawful demand; else 
why did they pretend to provide for it? On thnir 
own principles they are condemned. 

But I, Sir, who profess to speak to your nnder- 
Btanding and " - " ■ conscience, and to brusli away 
from this hv false colors, all false appella- 

tions, as we' facts, do positively deny that 

the Carnatic ^aillin i to the Company, — what- 

ever the Company may , indebted to that undone 
country. It owes nothing to the Company, for this 
plain and simple reason : the territory charged with 
the debt is their own. To say that their revenues ( 
fall short, and owe them money, is to say they are in j 
debt to themselves, which is only talking nonsense,._J 
The fact is, that, by the invasion of an enemy, and the 
ruin of the country, the Company, either in its own 
name, or in the names of the Nabob of Arcot and 
Rajah of Tanjore, has lost for several years what it 
might have looked to receive from its own estate. If 
men were allowed to credit themselves upon such 
principles, any one might soon grow rich by this 
mode of accounting. A flood comes down upon a 
man's estate in the Bedford Level of a thousand 
pounds a year, and drowns his rents for ten years. 
The Chancellor would put that man into the liands 
of a trustee, who would gravely make up his books, 
and for this loss credit himself in his account for a 
debt duo to him of 10,000 It is, however, on this 

^U' /i/l 





principle the Company makes up its demands on tho 
CanuUie. In peace they go tho fill' length, and in- 
deed more than the full length, of what tlio people 
can hear for current establishments ; then they are 
absurd enough to consolidate all tho calamities of war 
into debts, — to metamorphose tlie devastations of tlio 
country into demands upon its future production. 
What is this Init to avow a resolution utterly to de- 
stroy their own country, and to force tlie people to 
pay for tlieir sufferings to a government which has 
proved unable to protect either the share of tho hus- 
bandman or their own ? In every lease of a farm, 
the invasion of an enemy, instead of forming a de- 
mand for arrear, is a release of rent: nor for that 
release is it at all necessary to show tliat tho inva- 
sion has left nothing to tho occupier of the soil; 
though in tho present case it would bo too easy to 
prove that melancholy fact.* I therefore applauded 
my right honorable friend, who, when he canvassed 
the Company's accounts, as a preliminary to a bill 
that ought not to stand on falsehood of any kind, 
fixed his discerning eye and his deciding hand on 
these debts of the Company from the Nabob of Arcot 
and Rajah of Tanjore, and at one stroke expunged 
them all, as utterly irrecoverable : he might have 
added, as utterly unfounded. 

On tiicse grounds I do not blame the arrangement 

this day in question, as a preference given to the debt 

of individuals over the Company's debt. In my eye 

if is no more than tho preference of a fiction over a 

jchiraera ; l)ut I blame the preference given to those 

• " It is certain that the inonrsion of a^ew of Hyder's horse info 
the Jajliiro, in 1767, cost the Company upwards of pagodas 27,000, 
in aHoicanivs/or ihm'iij's." — Consultations, February llth, 1771. 



fictitious private debts over the standing defence and 
tlio standing government. It is tliere the public is 
robbed. It is robbed in its army ; it is robbed in its 
civil administration ; it is robbed in its credit ; it ia 
robbed in its investment, which forms the commercial 
connection between that country and Europe. There 
is the robbery. 

But my principal olyection lies a good deal deeper. 
That debt to the Company is the pretext under which 
all the oilier debts lurk and cover themselves. Tl:at 
debt forms the foul Uid mucus in which are en- 
3ndered the whole I. od of creeping ascarides, all 
tho endless involutions, mq eternal knot, added to 
a knot of those inexpugnable tape-worms which de- 
vour the nutriment and eat up the bowels of India.* 
It is necessary, Sir, you should recollect two things. 
First, that tho Nabob's debt to tho Company carries 
no interest. In the next place, you will observe, that, 
whenever the Company has occasion to borrow, she 
has always commanded whatever she thought fit at 
eight per cent. Carrying in your nind these two 
facts, attend to tho process with regard to the public 
and private debt, and with what little appes -ance of 
decency they play into each other's hands a game of 
utter perdition to tho unhappy natives of India. The 
Xabob falls into an arrcar to the Company. The Pres- 
idency presses for payment. The Nabob's answer is, 
" I have no money." Good ! But there ore soucars 
who will supply you on the mortgage of your territo- 
ries. Then steps forward some Paul Benfield, and, 
from his grateful compassion to tho Nabob, and his 

* Proceeding at Sladras, 11th February, 1769, and throughout 
the correspondence on this subject ; particularly Consultations, Octo- 
ber 4th, 1769, and the creditors' memorial, 20th January, 1770. 

VOL. III. 6 


'. /' 





filial regard to the Company, he unlocks the treas- 
ures of his virtr -is itidustry, and, for a considera- 
tion of twenty-foi,. >r tl»irty-six per cent on a mor^ 
gage of the territorinl revenue, becomes security to 
the Company for tho Nabob's arrear. 

All this intermediate usury thus becomes sanctified 
by the ultimate view to the Company's payment. lu 
this case, would not a plain man ask tliis plain ques- 
tion of tho Company : If you know that the Nabob 
must annually mortgage his territories to your ser- 
vants to pay his aiumal arrear to you, why is not the 
assignmont or mortgage made directly to the Company 
itself? By this simple, obvious operation, the Com- 
pany would be relieved and the debt paid, without 
the charge of a shilling interest to that prince. But 
if that course should be thought too indulgent, why 
do they not take tli;it assignment with such interest 
to themselves as they pay to others, that i:;, eight per 
cent? Or if it were thought more at'"* ,Iq (why it 
should I know not) that he must borrow, why do not 
the Company lend their own credit to the Nabob for 
their own payment ? That credit would not be weak- 
ened by tho colLteral security of his territorial mort- 
gage. Tho money might still be had at eight per 
cent. Instead of any of these honest and obvious 
methods, tho Company has for years kept up a show 
of disinterestedness and moderation, by suifering a 
debt to accumulate to them from the country powers 
without any interest at all; and at the same time 
have seen before their eyes, on a pretext of borrowing 
to pay that debt, the revenues of the country charged 
with an usury of twenty, twenty-four, thirty-six, and 
even eight-and-forty per cent, with compound inter- 
est,* for the benefit of their servants. All this time 

• Appendix, No 7. 


they know that by having a debt sub.^i- Jng without 
any interest, which is to be paid by contracting u 
debi on the higiiest interest, they manifestly render 
it necessary to the Nabob of Arcot to give the private 
demand a preference to the public ; and, by binding 
him and their servants together in a common cause, 
they enable him to form a party to the utter ruin of 
their own authority and their own affairs. Thus 
their false moderation, and their affected purity, by 
the natural operation of everything false and every- 
thing affected, becomes pander and bawd to the un- 
bridled debauchery and licentious lewdness of usury 
and extortion. 

In consequence of this double game, all the terri- 
torial reveuuep have at one time or other been v- 
ered by tnose locusts, the English soucars. Not o.^o 
single foot of the Carnatic has escaped them : a terri- 
tory as large as England. During these operations 
what a scene has that country presented ! * The 
usurious European assignee supersedes the Nabob's 
native farmer of the revenue ; the farmer flies to the 
Nabob's presence to claim his bargain ; whilst his 
servants murmtxr for wages, and his soldiers mtitiny 

• For soma part of these Oinrions transactions, see Consultation, 
28th January, 1781 ; and for the "labob'g excusing his oppressions 
on account of these debts, Consultation, 26tb November, 1770. 
" Still I undertook, first, the payment of the mi >elonging to the 

Company, who are my kind friends, and by borrov,i. g, and mortgag- 
ing my jswdi, ^., by taking Jrom every one of my lervants, in proportion 
to their circumstances, hy fresh severities also on my country, notwith- 
itaruUng its distressed state, as yon know." — The Board's remark is oa 
folio- 1 ; after controverting some of the facts, they say, " That his 
countries are oppressed is most certain, but not from real necessity ; 
his debts, indeed, have afforded him a constant pretence for using severi ties 
and cruel oppressions." 


J .ji- 






for pay. Tlie mortgage >o the European assignee is 
then resumed, and the native farmer replaced, — re- 
placed, again to be removed on the new clamor of 
the European assignee.* Every man of rank and 
landed fortune l)eing long since extinguished, the re- 
maining miserable last cultivator, who grows to the 
soil, after having his back scored by the farmer, has 
it again flayed by the whip of the assignee, and is 
thus, by a ravenous, because a short-lived succession 
of claimants, lashed from oppressor to oppressor, 
whilst a single drop of blood is left as the means of 
extorting a single grain of corn. Do not think I 
paint. Far, very far, from it: I do not reach the 
fact, nor approach to it. Men of respectable condi- 
tion, men equal to your substantial Englisli yeomen, 
are daily tied up and scourged to answer the multi- 
plied demands of various contending and contradic- 
tory titles, all issuing from one and the same source. 
Tyrannous exaction brings on servile concealment; 
and that again calls forth tyrannous coercion. They 
move in a circle, mutually producing and produced ; 
till at length nothing of humanity is left in tlie gov- 
ernment, no trace of integrity, spirit, or manliness in 
the people, who drag out a precarious and degraded 
existence under tliis system of outrage upon human 
nature. Such is the effect of the establishment of a 
debt to the Company, as it has hitherto been man- 
aged, and as it ever will remain, until ideas are 
adopted totally different from those which prevail at 
tliis time. 

• See Consultation, 28th Jannary, 1781, where it is asserted, and 
not denied, that the Nabob's farmers of revenue seldom continue for 
three months together. From this the state of the country may be 
easily jmijjeJ cf. 



Your worthy ministers, supporting what they are 
obliged to condemn, have thought fit to renew tlic 
Company's old order against contracting private debts- 
in future. They begin by rewarding tlie violation of 
the ancient law ; and then they gravely reenact pro- 
visions, of which they have given bounties for the 
breach. This inconsistency has been well exposed.* 
But what will you say to their having gone the length 
of giving positive directions for contracting the debt 
which they positively forbid ? 

I will explain myself. They order the Nabob, out 
of the revenues of the Carnatic, to allot four hundred 
and eighty thousand pounds a year, as a fund for the 
debts before us. For the punctual payment of this 
annuity, they order him to give soucar security.! 
When a soucar, tliat is, a money-dealer, becomes se- 
curity for any native prince, the course is for the 
native prince to counter-secure the money-dealer, by 
making over to him in mortgage a portion of his 
territory equal to the sum annually to be paid, with 
an interest of at leas., twenty-four per cent. The 
point fit for the House to know is, who are these 
soucars to whom this security on the revenues in 
favor of the Nabob's creditors is to be given ? The 
majority of the House, unaccustomed to these trans- 
actions, will hear with astonishment that these sou- 
cars are no other than the creditors themselves. 
Tlie minister, not content with authorizing these 
transactions in a manner and to an extent unhoped 
for by the rapacious expectations of usury itself, 
loads the broken back of the Indian revenues, in 
favor of his worthy friends, the soucars, with an ad- 

• In Mr. Fox's speech. 

t The amended letter. Appendix, No. 9. 




1. 1 


ditional twenty-four per cent for being security to 
themselves for their own claims, for coudesconding 
to take the country in mortgage to pay to themselves 
the fruits of their own extortions. 

The interest to be paid for this security, according 
to the most moderate strain of soucar demand, comes 
to 118,000Z. a year, which, added to the 480,000^. 
on which it is to accrue, will make the whole charge 
on account of these debts on the Carnatic revenues 
amount to 598,000^, a year, — as much as even along 
peace will enable those revenues to produce. Can 
any one reflect for ^ moment on all those claims of 
debt, which the minister exhausts himself in contri- 
vances to augment with new usuries, without lifting 
up his hands and eyes in astonishment at the un- 
pudence both of the claim and of the adjudication ? 
Services of some kind or other these servants of the 
Company must have done, so great and eminent 
that the Chancellor of the Exchequer cannot think 
tliat all tliey have brought home is half enough. He 
hallooes after them, " Gentlemen, you have forgot a 
large packet behind you, in your hurry; you liave 
not sufficiently recovered yourselves ; you ought to 
have, and you shall have, interest upon interest 
upon a prohibited debt that is made up of interest 
iipon interest. Even this is too little. I have thought 
of another character for you, by which you may add 
something to your gains: you shall be security to 
yourselves ; and hence will arise a new usury, which 
sliall efface the memory of all the usuries suggested 
to you by your own dull inventions." 

I liave done with the arrangement relat-'ve to the 
Carnatic. After this it is to little purpose to observe 
on what the ministers have done to Tanjoro. Your 


ministers have not observed even form and ceremo> 
nj in their outrageous and insulting robbery of that 
country, whose only crime has been its early and 
constant adherence to tho power of this, and the 
suffering of an uniform pillage in consequence of it. 
Tlie debt of the Company from the Rajah of Tanjore 
is just of the same stuff with that of the Nabob of 

The subsidy from Tanjore, on tlie arrear of which 
this pretended debt (if any there be) has accrued to 
the Company, is not, like that paid by the Nabob 
of Arcot, a compensation for vast countries obtained, 
augmented, and preserved for him ; not the price of 
pillaged treasuries, ransacked houses, and plundered 
territories: it is a large grant, from a small king- 
dom not obtained by our arms ; robbed, not protected, 
by our power ; a grant for which no equivalent was 
ever given, or pretended to be given. The right 
honorable gentleman, however, bears witness in his 
reports to the punctuality of the payments of this 
grant of bounty, or, if you please, of fear. It amounts 
to one hundred and sixty thousand pounds sterling 
net annual subsidy. He bears witness to a further 
grant of a town and port, with an annexed district 
of thirty thousand pound a year, surrendered to the 
Company since the first donation. He has not borne 
witness, but the fact is, (he will not deny it,) that in 
the midst of war, and during the ruin and desolation 
of a considerable part of his territories, this prince 
made many very large payments. Notwithstanding 
these merits and services, the first regulation of min- 
istry is to force from him a territory of an extent 
which they have not yet thought proper to ascertain,* 

\«'.' iii/' 


' it 



Appendix No. 8. 




for a military peace establishment the particulars ol 
which they have not yet been pleased to settle. 

The next part of their arrangement is with regard 
to war. As confessedly this prince had no share in 
stirring up any of the former wars, so all future wars 
are completely out of his power ; for he has no troops 
whatever, and is under a stipulation not so mucli as 
to correspond with any foreign state, except through 
the Company. Yet, in case the Company's servants 
should be again involved in war, or should think 
proper again to provoke any enemy, as in times past 
they have wantonly provoked all India, he is to 
be subjected to a new penalty. To what penalty? 
Why, to no less than the confiscation of all his reve- 
nues. But this is to end with the war, and they are 
to be faithfully returned ? Oil, no ! nothing like it. 
The country is to remain under confiscation until all 
the debt which the Company shall think fit to incur 
in such war shall be discharged : that is to say, for- 
ever. His sole comfort is, to find his old enemy, the 
Nabob of Arcot, placed in the very same condition. 

The revenues of that miserable country were, be- 
fore the invasion of H^der, reduced to a gross annual 
receipt of ihree hundred and sixty thousand pound.* 
From this receipt the subsidy I have just stated is 
taken. This again, by payments in advance, by ex- 
torting deposits of additional sums to a vast amount 
for the benefit of their soucars, and by an endless va- 
riety of otlier extortions, public and private, is loaded 
with a dubt, the amount of which I never could as- 
certain, but which is large undoubtedly, generating 
an usury the most completely ruinous that probably 

• Mr. Pctiiu's evidence before the Select Committee, Appendix, 
No. 7. 



was ever heard of: that is, forty-eight per cent, payable 
monthly, tvith compound interest.* 

Such is tlie state to which the Company's servants 
have reduced that country. Now come the reform- 
ers, restorers, and comforters of India. What have 
they done ? In addition to all these tyrannous exac- 
tions, with all these ruinous debts in their train, look- 
ing to one side of an agreement whilst they wilfully 
shut their eyes to the other, they withdraw from 
Tanjoro all tlie benefits of the treaty of 1762, and 
they subject that nation t.' a perpetual tribute of for- 
ty thousand a year to the Nal)ob of Arcot : a tribute 
never due, or pretended to be due, to him, even when 
he appeared to be something; a tribute, as things 
now stand, not to a real potentate, but to a shadow, 
a dream, an incubus of oppressica. After the Com- 
pany has accepted in subsidy, in grant of territory, in 
remission of rent, as a compensation for their own 
protection, at least two hundred thousand pound a 
year, without discounting a shilling for that j oceipt, 
the ministers condemn this haraj-sed nation to bo 
tributary to a person who is himself, by their own 
arrangement, deprived of the right of war or peace, 
deprived of the power of the sword, forbid to keep 
up a single regiment of soldiers, and is therefore 
wholly dii^abled from all protection of the country 
which is the object of the pretended tribute. Trilnite 
hangs on the sword. It is an incident inseparable 
from real, sovereign power. In the present case, to 
suppose its existence is as absuid as it is cruel and 
oppressive. And here, Mr. Speaker, you have a clear 
exemplification of the use of those false nauns and 
false col i"s which the gentlemen who have lately 

• Appendix, No. 7. 



f ' • I 

1.:^ |i 




taken possession of India choose to lay ou for tlio 
purpose of disguising their plan of oppression. The 
Nabob of Arcot and Rajah of Tanjore have, in truth 
and substance, no more than a merely civil authority, 
held in the most entire dependence on the Company. 
The Nabob, without military, witliout federal capac- 
ity, is extinguished as a potentate ; but then he is 
carefully kept alive as an independent and sovereign 
power, for the purpose of rapine and extortion, — for 
the purpose of perpetuating the old intrigues, animos- 
ities, usuries, and corruptions. 

It was not enough that this mockery of tribute was 
to be continued without the correspondent protection, 
or any of the stipulated equivalents, but ten years of 
arroar, to the amount of 400,000^. sterling, is r Med 
to all the debts to the Comrany and to individuals, 
in order to create a new debt, 4,0 be paid (if at all 
possible to be paid in whole or in part) only by new 
usuries, — and all this for the Nabob of Arcot, or 
ratiior for Mr. Benfield and the corps of the Nabo1)'3 
creditors and their soucars. Thus these miserable 
Indian princes are continued in their seats for no 
other purpose than to render them, in the first in- 
stance, objects of every species of extortion, and, in 
the second, to force them to become, for the sake of a 
momentary shadow of reduced authority, a sort of 
subordinate tyrants, the ruin and calamity, not the 
fathers and cherishers, of their people. 

But take this tribute only as a mere charge (with- 
out title, cause, or equivalent) on this people ; what 
one step has been taken to furnish grounds for a just 
calculation and estimate of the proportion of the bur- 
den and the ability? None, — not an attempt at it. 
They do not adapt the burden to the strength, but 


•m ■ 


they estimate the strength of the bearers by the bur- 
aen they impose. Then what care is taken to leave 
a fund sufficient to the future reproduction of the 
revenues that are to bear all these loads? Every 
one, but tolerably conversant in Indian affairs, miist 
know that the existence of this little kingdom de- 
pends on its control over the river Cavery. j 'le ben- 
efits of Heaven to any community ought 3ver to 
be connected with political arrangements, or made to 
depend on the personal conduct of princes, in which 
the mistake, or error, or neglect, or distress, or pas- 
sion of a moment, on either side, may bring famine 
on millions, and ruin an innocent nation perhaps for 
ages. The means of the subsistence of mankind 
should be as immutable as the laws of Nature, let 
power and dominion take what course they ir.ay. — 
Observe what has been done with regard to this im- 
portant concern. The use of this river is, indeed, at 
length given to the Rajah, and a power provided for 
its enjoyment at his own charge; but the means of 
furnisliing that charge (and a mighty one it is) are 
wholly cut off. This use of the water, which ought 
to have no more connection than clouds and rains 
and sunshine with the politics of the Rajah, the Na- 
bob, or the Company, is expressly contrived as a 
means of enforcing demands and arrears of tribute. 
This horrid and unnatural instrument of extortion 
had been a distinguishing feature in the enormities 
of the Carnatic politics, tliat loudly called for refor- 
mation. But tlie foud of a whole people is by the 
reformers of India conditioned on payments from its 
prince, at a moment that he is overpowered with a 
swarm of their demands, without regard to the abili- 
ty of either prince or people. Li fine, by opening an 






I,:;', •B 














i ' 


avenue to the irruption of the N^bob of Arcot's c ed 
itors and soucars, whom every man, who did not fall 
in lovo with oppression and corruption on an expe- 
rience of the calamities they produced, would have 
raised wall before wall and mound before mound to 
keep from a possibility of entrance, a more destruc- 
tive enemy than Hydcr Ali is introduced into that 
kingdom. By tli- part of their arrangement, in 
which they cstaljlish a debt to the Nabob of Arcot, 
in effect and substance, they deliver over Tanjoro, 
bound hand and foot, to Paul BenfioiJ, the old be- 
trayer, insnlter, oppressor, and scourge of a country 
which has for years been an object of an unremitted, 
but, unhappily, an unequal struggle, between the 
bounties of Providence to renovate and the wicked- 
ness of mankind to destroy. 

The right honorable gentleman * talks of his fair- 
ness in determining th.e territorial dispute between 
the Xabob of Arcot and the prince of that country, 
when he superseded the determination of the Direc- 
tors, in whom the law had vested the decision of that 
controversy. He is in this just as feeble as he is in 
every other part. But it is not necessary to say a 
word in refutation of any part of his argument. The 
mode of the proceeding sufficiently speaks the spirit 
of it. It is enough to fix his character as a judge, 
that he never heard the Directors in defence of their ad- 
judication, nor either of the parties in support of their 
respective claims. It is sufficient for me that he takes 
from the Rajah of Tanjore by this pretended adjudi- 
cation, or rather from hii. unhappy subjects, 40,000Z. 
a year of his and their revenue, and leaves upon his 
and their shoulders all the charges that can be made 

* Mr. Dandas. 




on tho part of the Nabob, ou the part of his creditors, 
and on tho part of the Company, without so much as 
'earing him as to right or to ability. But wliat prin- 
cipally induces me to leave the affliir of the territorial 
dispute between the Nabob and tho Rajah to another 
day is this, — that, both tho parties being stripped of 
tlieir all, it little signifies under which of their names 
tlie unhappy, undone people are delivered over to the 
merciless soucars, the allies of that right honorable 
gentleman and the Chancellor of tho Exchequer. In 
thera ends the account of this long dispute of the 
Nabob of Arcot ai.d the Rajah of Tanjore. 

Tl J right honorable gentleman is of opinion that 
his judgment in this casio can be censured l)y none 
but those who seem to act as if they were paid agents 
to one of the parties. What does ho think of his Court 
of Directors ? If they are paid by either of the par- 
ties, by which of them does he think they are paid ? 
Be knows that their decision has been directly con- 
trary to his. Shall I believe that it does not enter 
into his heart to conceive that any person can stead- 
ily and actively interest himself in the protection of 
the injured and oppressed without being well paid 
f -■ his service ? I have taken notice of this sort of 
discourse some days ago, so far as it may bo supposed 
to relate to me. I then contented myself, as I shall 
now do, with giving it a cold, though a very direct 
contradiction. Thus much I do from respect to tnith. 
If I did more, it might be supposed, by my anxiety to 
clear myself, that I had imbibed the ideas which, for 
obvious reasons, the right honorable gentleman wishes 
to have received concerning all attempts to plead the 
cause of the natives of India, as if it were a disrepu- 
table employment. If ho had not forgot, in his pres- 





■ .y 


















eut occupation, every principle which ought to have 
guided Jiim, and I hope did guide him, in his late 
profession, ho would have known that he who takes 
a fee for pleading the cause of distress against power, 
and maniuUy performs the duty ho has assumed, re- 
ceives an honorable recompense for a virtuous service. 
But if the right honorable gentleman will have no re- 
gard to fact in his insinuations or to reason in his 
opinions, I wish him at least to consider, that, if taking 
an earnest part with regard to the oppressions exer- 
cised in India, and with regard to this most oppressive 
case of Tanjore in particular, can ground a presump- 
tion of interested motives, he is himself the most mer- 
cenary man I know. His conduct, indeed, is such 
that he is on all occasions the standing testimony 
against himself. He it was that first called to that 
case the attention of the House ; the reports of his 
own committee are ample and affecting upon that 
subject ; * and as many of us as have escaped his 
massacre must remember the very pathetic picture 
he made of the sufferings of the Taiyore country, on 
tlie day when he moved the unwieldy code of his In- 
dian resolutions. Has he not stated over and over 
again, in his reports, the ill treatment of the Rajah 
of Tanjore (a branch of the royal house of the Malirat- 
tas, every injury to whom the Mahrattas felt as offered 
to themselves) as a main cause of the alienation of 
that people from the British power? And does he 
now think that to betray his principles, to contradict 
his declarations, and to become himself an active in- 
strument in those oppressions which he had so tragi- 
cally lamented, is the way to clear himself of having 

• See Report IV., Committee of Secrecy, pp. 73 and 74 ; and Appen 
dix, in Bondry places. 


\ !r t 


been actuated by a pecuniary interest at the time 
when he chose to appear full of tenderness to that 
ruined nation ? 

The right honorable gentleman is fond of parading 
on the motives of others, and on his own. As to him- 
self, he despises the imputations of those who suppose 
that anything corrupt could influence him in this his 
unexampled liberality of the public treasure. I do 
not know that I am obliged to speak to the motives 
of ministry, in tlie arrangements they have made of 
the pretended debts of Arcot and Tanjore. If I prove 
fraud and collusion with regard to public money on 
those right honorable gentlemen, I am not obliged 
to asf^ign their motives ; because no good motives can 
be pleaded in favor of their conduct. Upon that case 
I stand ; ie are at issut • and I desire to go to trial. 
This, I am sure, is not loose railing, or mean insinua- 
tion, according to their low and degenerate fashion, 
when they make attacks on tlie measures of their ad- 
versaries. It is a regular and juridical course ; and 
unless I choose it, nothing can compel me to go 

But since these unhappy gentlemen have dared to 
hold a lofty tone about their motives, and affect to 
despise suspicion, instead of being careful not to give 
cause for it, I shall beg leave to lay before you some 
general observations on wliat I conceive was their 
duty in so delicate a business. 

If I were worthy to suggest any line of prudence 
to that right honorable gentleman, I would tell him 
that the way to avoid suspicion in the settlement of 
pecuniary transactions, in which great frauds have 
been very strongly presumed, is, to attend to these 
few plain principles: — First, to hear all parties 

t A 


1 ^ 



Mi 1 




^ ^ -~^ 



if I 



equally, aiiH not the managers for the suspected 
claimants only; not to proceed in the dark, but 
to act with as much publicity as possible; not to 
precipitate decision ; to be religious in following the 
rules prescribed in the Cvmmission under whieii we 
act; and, lastly, and above all, not to bo foud of 
straining constructions, to force a jurisdiction, and to 
draw to ourselves the management of a tnist in its 
nature invi('ou8 and obnoxious to suspicion, whore 
the plainest letter of the law does not umpcl it. If 
these few plain rules are observed, no corruption 
ought to be suspected ; if any of them are vioktcd, 
suspicion will attach in proportion ; if all of them 
are violated, a corrupt motive of some kind or other 
will not only be suspected, but must be violently 

The persons in whose favor all these rules have 
been violated, and the conduct of ministers towards 
them, will naturally call for your consideration, and 
\yill serve to lead you through a series and combina- 
tion of facts and characters, if I do not mis^tako, into 
the very inmost recesses of this mysterious business. 
You will then be in possession of all the materials 
on which the principles of sound jurisprudence will 
found, or will reject, the presumption of corrupt mo- 
tives, or, if such motives are indicated, will point out 
to you of what particular nature the corruption is. 

Our wonderful minister, as "-u all know, formed a 
new plan, a plan insigne, recens, indictum ore alio, a 
plan for supporting the freedom of our Constitution 
by court intrigues, and for removing its corruptions 
by Indian delinquency. To carry that bold, paradox- 
ical design into execution, sufficient funds and apt 
instruments became necessary. You are perfectly 





■ensiblo that a Parliamentary reform occupies his 
thoughts day and night, as an essential member in 
this extraordinary project. In his anxious researches 
upon this subiect, natural instinct, as well as sound 
polic'' would direct his eyes and settle his choice on 
Paul Benfield. Paul Bonfield is the grand Parlia- 
mentary reformer, the reformer to whom the whole 
choir of reformers bow, and to whom even the right 
honorable gentleman himself must yield the palm: 
for what region in the empire, what city, what bor- 
ough, what county, what tribunal in this kingdom is 
not full of Ins labors ? Others have been only specu- 
lators ; he is the grand practical reformer ; and wliilst 
the Chancellor of the Exchequer pledges in vain the 
man and tlie minister, to increase the provincial 
members, Mr. Benfield has auspiciously and practi- 
cally begun it. Leaving far behind him oven Lord 
Camolford's generous design of bestowing Old Sarum 
on tlie Bank of England, Mr, Benfield has thrown in 
the borough of Cricklade to reinforce the county rep- 
resentation. Not content with this, in order to sta- 
tion a steady phalanx for all future reforms, tliis 
public-spirited usurer, amidst his charitable toils for 
tlie relief of India, did not forget the poor, rotten 
Constitution of his native country. For her, ho did 
not disdain to stoop to the trade of a wliolcsale uphol- 
sterer for this House, — to furnish it, not v/ith the 
faded tapestry figures of antiquated merit, such as 
decorate, and may reproach, some other houses, but 
with real, solid, living patterns of true modern virtue. 
Paul Benfield made (reckoning himself) no fewer 
than eight members in the last Parliament. "Wiiat 
copious streams of pure blood must ho not have trans- 
fused into tlic veins of the preser : ! 

VOL. 111. 7 








' lip 








But what is even more striking than the real ser- 
vices of this new-imported patriot is his modesty. 
As soon as he had conferred this benefit on the r!on- 
stitution, he withdrew himself from our applause. 
He conceived that the duties of a member of Parlia- 
ment (which with the elect faithful, the true believers, 
the Islam of Parliamentary reform, are of little or no 
merit, perhaps not much better than specious sins) 
might be as well attended to in India as in England, 
and the means of reformation to Parliament itself be 
far better provided. Mr. Benfield was tlierefore no 
sooner elected tlian he set off for Madras, and de- 
frauded the longing eyes of Parliament. "Wo have 
never enjoyed in this House the luxury of beholding 
that minion of tlie human race, and contemplating 
that visage which has so long reflected the happiness 
of nations. 

It was therefore not possible for the minister to 
consult personally with this great man. Wliat, then, 
was he to do ? Through a sagacity that never failed 
liim in these pursuits, he found out, in Mr. Benfield's 
representative, his exact resemblance. A specific 
attraction, by which he gravitates towards all such 
characters, soon brought our minister into a close 
connection with Mr. Benfield's agent and attorney, 
that is, with the grand contractor, (whom I name to 
honor,) Mr. Richard Atkinson, — a name that will be 
well remembered as long as the records of this House, 
as long as the records of the British Treasury, as long 
as the moil .'ntal debt of England, shall endure. 

This gentleman. Sir, acts as attorney for Mr. Paxil 
Benfield. Every one who hears me is well acquaint- 
ed witli the sacred friendship and the steady mutual 
attachment that subsists between him and the present 


minister. As many members as chose to attend in 
the first session of this Parliament can best tell their 
own feelings at the scenes which were then acted. 
How much that honorable gentleman was consulted 
in the original frame and fabric of the bill, commonly 
called Mr. Pitt's India Bill, is matter only of conjec- 
ture, though by no means difficult to divine. But 
the public was an indignant witness of the ostentation 
with which the measure was made his own, and the 
authority with which he brought up clause after 
clause, to stuff and fatten the rankness of that cor- 
rupt act. As fast as the clauses were brought up 
to the table, they were accepted. No hesitation, no 
discussion. They were received by the new minis- 
ter, not with approbation, but with implicit submis- 
sion. The reformation may bo estimated by seeing 
who was the reformer. Paul Bonficld's associate and 
agent was held up to the world as legislator of Hln- 
dostan. But it was necessary to authenticate the 
coalition between the men of intrigue in India and 
the minister of intrigue in England by a studied 
display of the power of this their connecting link. 
Every trust, every honor, every distinction, was to be 
heaped upon him. He was at once made a Director 
of the India Company, made an alderman of London, 
and to be made, if ministry could prevail, (and I am 
sorry to say how near, how very near, they were pre- 
vailing,) representative of the capital of this king- 
dom. But to secure Lis services against all risk, ho 
was brought in for a ministerial borough. On his 
part, he was not wanting in zeal for the common 
cause. His advertisements show his motives, and 
the merits Tipon which he stood. For your minis- 
ter, this worn-out veteran submitted to enter into the 






dusty field of the London contest; and you all re- 
member that in the same virtuous cause he submi^ 
ted to keep a sort of public office or counting-house, 
where the whole business of the last general elec- 
tion was managed. It was openly managed by the 
direct agent and attorney of Benfield. It was man- 
aged upon Indian principles and for an Indian in- 
terest. This was the golden cup of abominations, — 
this the chalice of the fornications of rapine, usury, 
and oppression, which was held out by the gorgeous 
Eastern harlot, — which so many of the people, so 
many of the nobles of this land had drained to the 
•^ery dregs. Do you think that no reckoning was to 
follow this lowd debauch ? that no payment was to 
be demanded for this riot of public drunkenness and 
national prostitution ? Here, you have it here before 
you! The principal of the grand election-manager 
must bo indemnified ; accordingly, the claims of Ben- 
field and his crew must be put above all inquiry. 

For several years Benfield appeared as the chief 
proprietor, as well as the chief agent, director, and 
controller of this system of debt. The worthy chair- 
man of the Company has stated the claims of this 
single gentleman on the Nabob of Arcot as amount- 
ing to five hundred thousand pound.* Possibly at 
the time of the chairman's state they might liave 
been as high. Eight hundred thousand pound had 
been mentioned some time before ; f and, according 
to the practice of shifting the names of creditors 
in these transactions, and reducing or raising the 
debt itself at pleasure, I think it not impossible that 
at one period the name of Benfield might have stood 

• Mr. Smith's protest. 

t Madras corrcspou'^ence on this gabject. 


before those frif atful figures. But my best informa- 
tion goes to fix bis share no higher than four liun- 
drod thousand pounds. By the scheme of the present 
ministry for adding to the principal twelve per cent 
li'om tho year 1777 to the year 1781, four hundred 
thousand pounds, that smallest of the sums ever 
mentioned for Mr. Beufield, will form a capital of 
o92,000i. at six per cent. Thus, besides the arrears 
of three years, amounthig to 106,500Z., (which, as 
fast as received, may be legally lent out at twelve 
per cent,) Benfield has received, by the ministerial 
grant before you, an annuity of '65,5201. a year, 
charged on the public revenues. 

Our min-or of ministers of finance did not think 
this enough for tho services of such a friend as Ben- 
field. He found that Lord Macartney, in order to 
frighten the Court of Directors from the project of 
obliging the Nabob to give soucar security for his 
debt, assured them, that, if they should take that 
step, Benfield* would infallibly be the soucar, and 
would thereby become the entire master of the Car- 
natic. What Lord Macartney thought sufficient to 
deter the very agents and partakers with Benfield in 
his iniquities was the inducement to the two right 
honorable gentlemen to order this very soucar secu- 
rity to be given, and to recall Benfield to tho city of 
Madras from the sort of decent exile into which he 
had been relegated by Lord Macartney. You must 
therefore consider Benfield as soucar security for 
480,000^. a ye.T, which, at twenty-four per cent, 
(supposing him 'ontented with that profit,) will, 
with the interest of his old debt, produce an annual 
income of 149,520Z. a year. 

• Appendix, No 6. 

' 1 1 


,1 . 








Here is a specimen of the new and pure aristoc- 
jracy created by the right honorable genueman,* as 
!the support of the crown and Constitution against 
the old, corrupt, refractory, natural interests of this 
j kingdom; and this is the grand counterpoise against 
jail odious coalitions of these interests. A single 
Benfield outweighs them all: a criminal, who long 
since oughc to have fattened the region kites with his 
offal, IF ,- his Majesty's ministers enthroned in the 
goveriiiuout of a great kingdom, and enfeoffed with 
an estate which in the comparison effaces the splen- 
dor of all the nobility of Europe. To bring a little 
more distinctly into view the true secret of this 
dark transaction, I beg you particularly to advert to 
the circumstances which I am gouig to place before 

The general oorps of creditors, as well as Mr. 
Benfield himself, not looking well into futurity, nor 
presaging the minister of this day, thought it not 
expedient for their common interest that such a 
name as his should stand at tlie head of their list. 
It was therefore agreed amongst them that Mr. Ben- 
field should disappear, by making over his debt to 
Messrs. Taylor, Majeudie, and Call, and should in 
return be secured by their bond. 

The debt thus exonerated of so great a weight of 
its odium, and otherwise reduced from its alaiming 
bulk, the agents thought they might venture to print 
a list of the creditors. This was done for the first time 
in the year 1783, during the Duke of Portland's ad- 
ministration. In this list the name of Benfield was 
not to be seen. To this strong negative testimony 
was added the further testimony of the Nabob of Ar- 

* Right Honorable Pitt 





cot. That prince * (or rather Mr. Benfield for him) 
writes to (lie Court of Directors a letter f full of com- 
;~ Hints and accusations against Lord Macartney, con- 
veyed in such terms as were natural for one of Mr. 
Bcnfield's habits and education to employ. Amongst 
the rest he is made to complain of his Lordship's en- 
deavoring to prevent an intercourse of politeness and 
sentiment between him and Mr. Benfield ; and to 
aggravate the affront, he expressly declares Mr. Ben 
field's visits to bo only on account of respect and of 
gratitude, as no pecuniary transaction subsisted be- 
tween tl m. 

Such, for a considerable space of time, was the out,- 
ward form of the loan of 1777, in which Mr. Benfield 
had no sort of concern. At length intelligence ar- 
rived at Madras, that this debt, which lipd alway 
been renounced by the Court of Directors, was lathei 
like to become the subject of something more like a 
criminal inquiry than of any patronage or suncilon 
from Parliament. Every ship brought accounts, one 
stronger than the other, of the prevalence of the de- 
termined enemies of the Indian system. Tlie public 
revenues became an object desperate to the hopes of 
Mr. Benfield ; he therefore resolved to fall upon his 
associates, and, in violation of that faith which sub- 
sists among those who have abandoned all other, 
commences a suit in " layer's Court against Ta;^- 
lor, Majendie, and bi the bond .'•iven to him, 

when he agreed to Qi.j,^pear for his Onu benefit as 

• Appendix, No. 10. 

t Dated I3th October. For further illustration of the style in 
which these letters were written, and the principles on which they 
proceed, see letters from the Nabob to the Court of Directors, dated 
August 16th and September 7th, 1783, delivered by Mr. James Mac- 
pherson, minister to the Nabob, January 14, 1784. Appendix, No. 10 


\ <i 

.• • 'h 







well as that of the common concern. The assignees 
of his debt, who little expected the springing of this 
mine, even from such an engineer as Mr. Benfield, 
after recovering their first alarm, thought it best to 
take ground on the real state of the transaction. 
They divulged tlie whole mystery, and were ;)repared 
to plead that they had never received from Mr. Bon- 
field any otlior consideration for tlie bond than a 
transfer, in trust for himself, of hi- demand on the 
Nabob of Arcot. An universal indignation arose 
against the perfidy of Mr, Benfield's proceeding ; the 
event of the suit vas looked upon as so certain, tliat 
Benfield was compelled to retreat as precipitately as 
he had advancer! boldly ; he gave up liis bond, and 
was reinstated in his original demand, to wait the 
fortune of other claimants. At that time, and at 
Madras, this hope was dull indeed; but at home 
another scene was preparing 

It Av long before any public account of this dis- 
covery at Jladras had arrived in England, that the 
present minister and his Board of Control thought fit 
to determine on the debt of 1777. The recorded pro- 
ceedings at this time know nothing of any debt to 
Benfield. There was his own testimony, there was 
the testimony of the list, there was the testimony of 
the Nabob of Arcot, against it. Yet such was the 
ministers' feeling of the true secret of this transaction, 
that thoy thought proper, in the teeth of all these tes- 
timonies, to give him license to return to Madras. 
Here the ministers were under some embarrassment. 
Confounded between their resolution of rewarding 
the good services of Benfield's friends and associates 
in England, and the shame of sending that notorious 
incendiary to the court of the Nabob of Aruot, to re- 

.-, , ;r^r 


new Jiis intrigues against the British government, at 
the time they authorize his return, they forbid him, 
under the severest penalties, from any conversation 
with the Nabob or liis ministers : that is, they forbid 
his communication with the very person on account 
of liis dealings with whom they permit his return to 
that city. To overtop this contradiction, there is not 
a word restraining him from the freest intercourse 
with the Nabob's second son, the real author of all 
that is done in the Nabob's name ; who, in conjunc- 
tion with this very Benfield, has acquired an absolute 
dominion over that unhappy man, is able to persuade 
him to put his signature to whatever paper they 
please, and often without any communication of the 
contents. This management was detailed to them at 
full length by Lord Macartney, and they cannot pre- 
tend ignorance of it.* 

I believe, after this exposure of facts, no man can 
entertahi a doubt of tlie collusion of ministers with 
the corrupt interest of the delinquents in Lidia. 
Whenever those in authority provide for the interest 
of any person, on the real, but concealed state of liis 
affairs, without regard to his avowed, public, and os- 
tensible pretences, it must be presumed that they are 
in confederacy with him, because they act for him on 
the same fraudulent principles on which he acts for 
himself. It is plain that the ministers were fully ap- 
prised of Bonfield's real situation, which he had used 
means to conceal, whilst concealment answered his 
purposes. They were, or the person on whom they 
relied was, of the cabinet council of Benfield, in the 
very deptli of all his mysteries. An honest magis- 
trate compels men to abide by one story. An equi- 

* Appendix, No. 6. 

|l ' 



h - < 



table judge would not hear of the claim of a man 
who had himself thought proper to renounce it. 
With sucli a judge his shuffling and prevarication 
would have damned his claims ; such a judge never 
would have known, but in order to animadvert upon, 
proceedings of that character. 

I have thus laid before you, Mr. Speaker, I think 
with suflScient clearness, the connection of the minis- 
ters with Mr. Atkinson at the general election; 1 
have laid open to you the connection of Atkinson 
with Benfield ; I have shown Benfield's employment 
of his wealth in creating a Parliamentary interest to 
procure a ministerial protection; I have set before 
your eyes his large concern in the debt, his practices 
to hide that concern from the public eye, and the lib- 
eral protection wliioh he has received from the minis- 
ter. If this chain of circumstances does not lead you 
necessarily to conclude that the minister has paid 
to the avarice of Benfield the services done by Ben- 
field's connections to his ambition, I do not know 
anything short of the confession of the party that can 
persuade you of his guilt. Clandestine and collusive 
practice can only be traced by combination and com- 
parison of circumstances. To reject such combina- 
tion and comptuison is to reject the only means of 
detecting fraud ; it is, indeed, to give it a patent and 
free license to cli:at with impunity. 

I confine myself to the connection of ministers, 
mediately or immediately, with only two persons con- 
cerned in this debt. How many othei. . who support 
tlieir power and greatness witliin and without doors, 
are concerned originally, or by transfers of these 
debts, must le left to general opinion. I refer to the 
reports of the Select Committee for the proceedings 




of some of the agents iu these affairs, and tlioii* at- 
tempts, at least, to furnish ministers with the means 
of buying General Courts, and even whole Parliar 
ments, in the gross.* 

I know that the ministers will think it little less 
than acquittal, that they s'^e not charged with having 
taken to themselves some part of the money of which 
thoy have made so liberal a donation to their parti 
sans, tliough the charge may be indisputably fixed 
upon the corruption of thtir politics. For my part, I 
follow tlieir crimes to that point to which legal pre- 
sumptions and natural indications load me, without 
considering what species of evil motive tends most to 
aggravate or to extenuate the guilt of tlieir conduct. 
But if I am to speak my private sentiments, I think 
that in a tliousand cases for one it would be far less 
mischievous to the public, and full as little dishonor- 
able to themselves, to be polluted with direct bribery, 
than thus to become a standing auxiliary to the op- 
pression, usury, and peculation of multitudes, in order 
to obtain a corrupt support to their power. It is 
by bribing, not bo often by being bribed, that wicked 
politicians bring ruin on mankind. Avarice is a ri- 
val to the pursuits of many. It finds a multitude 
of checks, and many opposers, in every walk of life. 
But the objects of ambition are for the few ; and 
every person wlio aims at indirect profit, and there- 
fore wants other protection than innocence and law, 
instead of its rival, becomes its instrument. There is 
a natural allegiance and fealty due to this domineer- 
ing, paramount evil, from all the vassal vices, which 
acknowledge its superiority, and readily militate un- 
der its banners ; and it is under that discipline alone 

• Second Report of Select (General Smith's) Committee. 








1 1 

■,[ ■ 







, i 


th xt avarice is able to spread to any considerable ex- 
tent, or 10 render itself a general, public mischief. 
It is therefore no apology for ministers, tiiat they 
have not been bought by the East India delinquents, 
but that they have only formed an alliance with them 
for screening each other from justice, according to 
thfc exigence of their several necessities. That they 
have done so is evident; and the junction of the 
power of office in England with the abuse of authori- 
ty in the East has not only prevented even the ap- 
pearance of redress to the grievances of India, but I 
wish it may not be found to have dulled, if not extin- 
guished, the honor, the candor, the generosity, the 
good-nature, which used formerly to characterize the 
people of England. I confess, I wish that some 
more feeling than I have yet observed for the suffer- 
ings of our fellow-creatures and fellow-subjects in 
that oppressed part of the world had manifested it- 
self in any one quarter of the kingdom, or in any 
one large description of men. 

^ That these oppressions exist is a fact no more de- 
nied than it is resented as it ought to be. Much 
evil has been done in India under the British autlior- 
ity. Wliat has been done to redress it ? We are no 
longer surprised at anything. We are above the un- 
learned and vulgar passion of admiration. But it will 
astonish posterity, when they read our opinions in our 
actions, that, after years of inquiry, we have found out 
that the sole grievance of India consi^iod in this, that 
the servants of the Company tliere had not profited 
enough of their opportunities, nor drained it suffi- 
ciently of its treasures, — when they sliall liear that 
the very first and only important act of a commission 
specially named by act of Parliament is, to charge 




upon an undono country, in favor of a handful of 
men in the humblest ranks of tlie public service, the 
enormous sum of perhaps four millions of sterling 

It is difficult for the most wise and upright govern- 
ment to correct the abuses of remote, delegated power, 
productive of unmeasured wealth, and protected by 
the boldness and strength of the same ill-got riches. 
T' cso abuses, full of their own wild native vigor, will 
grow and flourish under mere neglect. But where 
the supreme authority, not content with winking at 
the rapacity of its inferior instruments, is so shame- 
less and corrupt as openly to give bounties and pre- 
miums for disobedience to its laws,— Alien it will not 
trust to the activity of avarice in the pursuit of its 
own gains, — when it secures public robbery by all 
the careful jealouay and attention with which it ought 
to protect property from such violence, — the common- 
wealth then is become totally perverted from its pur- 
poses ; neitlier God nor man will long endure it ; nor 
will it long endure itself. In that case, there is an 
unnatural infection, a pestilential taint, fermenting in 
the constitution of society, wliich fever and convul- 
sions of some kind or other must throw oif, or in 
which the vital powers, worsted in an unequal strug- 
gle, arc pushed back upon themselves, and, by a re- 
versal of their whole functions, fester to gangrene, to 
death, — and instead of w' >, was but just now the 
delight and boast of the creation, there will be cast 
out in the face of tlic sun a bloated, putrid, noisome 
carcass, full of stench and poison, an offence, a hor- 
ror, a lesson to the world. 

In my opinion, wc ought not to wait for the fruit- 
less instruction of calamity to liiquire into the abuses 










» < 


which bring upon us ruin in the worst of its forms, 
in the loss of our fame and virtue. But the right 
honorable gentleman* says, in answer to all the 
powerful arguments of my honorable friend, " that 
this inquiry is of a delicate nature, and that the state 
will suffer detriment by the exposure of this trans- 
action." But it is exposed ; it is perfectly known in 
every member, in every particle, and in every way, 
except that which may lead to a remedy. He knows 
that the papers of correspondence are printed, and 
that they are in every hand. 

He and dk,iicacy are a rare and a singular coali- 
tion. Ho thinks tliat to divulge our Indian poll- 
tics may be highly dangerous. He ! the mover, the 
chairman, the rpnorter of the Committee of Socro- 
cy ! he, that I -th in the utmost detail, in 

several vast, pn.. the most recondite parts 

of the politics, thv. , the revenues of the 

British empire in India: vVith six great chopping 
bastards,* each as lusty as an infant Hercules, this 
delicate creature blushes at the sight of his new 
bridegroom, assumes a virgin delicacy ; or, to use a 
more fit, as well as a more poetic comparison, the 
person so squeamish, so timid, so trembling lest the 
winds of heaven sliould visit too roughly, is expanded 
to broad sunshine, exposed like the sow of imperial 
p igury, lying in the mud with all the prodigies of 
her fertility about her, as evidence of her delicate 
amours, — 

Triginta capitam foetus enixa jaccbat, 
Alba, solo recubans, albi circara ubera nati. 

Whilst discovery of the misgovernment of others 
led to his own power, it was wise to inquire, it was 

• Mr. Danda.. f Six Report* of the Committee of Secrecy. 



safo to publish : there was then no delicacy ; there was 
thou no (langer. But when h\» object is obtained, 
and in hia imitation hu has outdone the crimes that 
ho had reprobated in volumes of reports and hi f^hcots 
of bills of pains and penalties, then concealment be- 
comes prudence, and it concerns the safety of the 
state tiiat we should not know, in a mode of Parlia- 
mentary cognizance, what all the world knows but 
too well, that is, in what manner ho chooses to dispose 
ol the public revenues to tho creatures of his politics. 
The debate has been long, and as much sn on my 
part, at least, as on tho part of those who have spok- 
en before me. But long as it is, the more material 
iialf of the subject has hardly been touched on : that 
is, the corrupt «nd destructive system to which this 
debt has been rendered subservient, and which seems 
to bo pursued with at least as much vigor and reg- 
ularity as ever. If I considered your ease or my 
own, rather than the weight, and importance of this 
question, I ought to make some apology to you, per- 
haps some apology to myself, for having detained 
your attention so long. I know on what ground 1 
tread. This subject, at one time taken up with so 
much fervor and zeal, is no longer a favorite in this 
House. The House itself has undergone a great 
and signal revolution. To some the subject is strange 
and uncouth ; to several, harsh and distasteful ; to the 
relics of the last Parliament it is a matter of fear 
and apprehension. It is natural for those who have 
seen their friends sink in the tornado which raged 
during the late shift of the monsoon, and have hardly 
escaped on tlie planks of the general wreck, it is but 
too natural for them, as soon as t\u j make the rocks 
and quicksands of their former disasters, to put about 



their new-built barks, and, as much as possible, to 
keep aloof from this perilous lee shore. 

But lot us do what we please to put India from our 
thoughts, we can do nothing to separate it from our 
public interest and our national reputation. Our 
attempts to banish this importunate duty will only 
make it return upon us again and again, and every 
time in a shape more unpleasant tlian the former. 
A government has been fabricated for that great 
province; the right honorable gentleman says that 
therefore you ought not to examine into its conduct. 
Heavens ! what an argimient is this ! We are not 
. to examine into the conduct of the Direction, because 
; it is an old government ; we are not to examine into 
,this Board of Control, because it is a new one. Then 
iAve are only to examine into the conduct of those who 
ihave no conduct to account for. Unfortunately, the 
1 basis of this new government has been laid on old, 
condemned delinquents, and its superstructure is 
raised out of prosecutors turned into protectors. Tlie 
event has been such as might be expected. But if 
it had been otherwise constituted, had it been con- 
stituted even as I wished, and as the mover of tliis 
question had planned, the better part of the proposed 
establishment was in the publicity of its proceedings, 
in its perpetual responsibility to Parliament. With- 
out this check, what is our government at home, 
even awed, as every European government is, by an 
audience formed of the other states of Europe, by 
the applause or condemnation of the discerning and 
critical company before which it acts? But if the 
scene on the other side of the globe, which tempts, 
invites, almost compels, to tyranny and rapine, bo 
not inspected with the eye of a severe and unremit- 




ting vigilance, shame and destruction nmst ensue. 
For one, the worst event of this day, though it may 
deject, shall not break or subdue me. The call upon 
us is authoritative. Let who will shrink back, I sliall 
be found at my post. Baffled, discountenanced, sub- 
dued, discredited, as the cause of justice and human- 
ity is, it will be only the dearer to me. Whoever, 
therefore, shall at any time bring before you anything 
towards the relief of our distressed fellow-citizens in 
India, and towards a subversion of the present most 
corrupt and oppressive system for its government, in 
me shall find a weak, I am afraid, but a steady, oar- 
nest, and faithful assistant. 






> I 

No. 1. 

Beferred to from p. P. 

Appointing Commiisionera to inqw re into the Fees, Qra- 
tuities, Perquisites, JEmolumer-ii. < 'hich are, or have 
been lately, received in the several j.^vhlio Offices there- 
in mentioned; to examine into any Abuses which may 
exist in the same, ^c. 

And be it further enacted, that it shall and may 
be lawful to and for the said commissioners, or any 
two of them, and they are hereby empowered, au- 
thorized, and required, to examine upon oath (which 
oath they, or any two of them, are hereby authorized 
to admuiister) the several persons, of all descriptions, 
belonging to any of the offices or departments before 
mentioned, and all other persons whom the said com- 
missioners, or any two of them, shall think fit to 
examine, touching the business of each office or de- 
partment, and the fees, gratuities, perquisites, and 
emoluments taken therein, and touching all other mat- 
ters and things necessary for the execution of the 
powers vested in the said commissioners by this act ; 
all which persons are hereby required and directed 
punctually to attend the said commissioners, at such 
time and place as they, or any two of them, shall ap- 
point, and also to observe and execute such orders and 
directions as the said commissioners, or any two of 


■^^ ' 'd^ 



them, shall make or give for the purposes before 

And be it enacted by the authority aforesaid, that 
the said commissioners, or any two of them, shaU be 
and are hereby empowered to examine into any cor- 
rupt and fraudulent practices, or other misconduct, 
committed by any person or persons concerned in the 
management of any of the offices or departments 
hereinbefore mentioned; and for the better execu- 
tion of this present act, the said commissioners, or 
ant/ two of them, are hereby authorized to meet and 
tit, from time to time, in such pic vlaces as they 

shall find most convenient, with or i idjournment, 

and to send their precept or precepts, ■ ..„r their hand's 
and seals, for any person or persons whatsoever, and 
for such hooks, papers, writings, or records, as they shall 
judge necessary for their information, relating to any 
of the offices or departments hereinbefore mmtioned; and 
all bailiffs, constables, sheriffs, and other his Majesty's 
officers, are hereby required to obey and exeeute such or- 
ders and precepU aforesaid as shall he sent to them, or 
any of them, by the said commissioners, or any two of 
them, touching the premises. 



No. 2. 

Referred to from p. S3. 

Mb. Georoe Smith being asked. Whether the debts 
of the Nabob of A rcot have increased since he knew 
Madras ? ho said, Yes, they have. He distinguishes 

' '.ft : 



his d3bts iuto two Borts* those contracted before the 
year 1766, and those contracted from that year to the 
year in which he left Madras. — Being asked, What 
he thinks is the original amount of the old debts ? he 
said, Between twenty-three and twenty-four lacs of 
pagodas, as well as he can recollect. — Being asked, 
What was the amount of that debt when he left 
Madras ? h^ said. Between four and five lacs of pago- 
das, as he understood. — Being asked. What was the 
amount of ''.e new debt when he left Madras? he 
said. In ^.ovember, 1777, that debt amounted, accord- 
ing to tl'? Nabob's own account, and published at 
Chepauk, ; is place of residence, to sixty lacs of pago- 
das, iudep3ndent of the old debt, on which debt of 
sixty lacs of pagodas the Nabob did j gree to pay an 
interest of twelve per cent per aanum. — Being asked, 
Whether tliis debt was approved of by tiic Court of 
Directorn ? he said. He does not know it was. — Be- 
ing asked. Whether the old debt was recognized by 
the Court of Directors ? he said, Yes, it has been ; 
and the Court of Directors have sent out repeated 
orders to the President and Council of Madras to en- 
force its recovery and payment. — Being asked. If the 
interest upon the new debt is punctuuily paid? he 
said, It was not during his residence at Madras, from 
1777 to 1779, in which period he thinks no more than 
five per cent interest was paid, in different dividends 
of two and one per cent. — Being asked. What is the 
usual course taken by the Nabob concerning the ar- 
reai-s of interest ? he said, Not having ever lent him 
moneys himself, he cannot fully answer as to the 
mode of settling the interest with him. 

Being asked, Whether he has reason to believe the 
sixty lacs of pagodas was all principal money really 

'ki < 




and truly advanced to the Nabob of Arcot, or a ficti- 
tious capital, made up of obligations given by him, 
where no money or goods were received, or which 
was increased by the uniting into it a greater interest 
than the twelve per cent expressed to be due on the 
capital ? he said. He has no reason to believe that 
the sum of sixty lacs of pagodas was lent in money 
or goods to the Nabob, because that sum he thinks 
is of more value than all the money, goods, and chat- 
tels in the settlement ; but he does not know in what 
mode or manner this debt of the Nabob's was incxirred 
or accumulated. — Being asked, Whether it was not 
a general and well-grounded opinion at Madras, that 
a great part of this sum was accumulated by obliga- 
tions, and was for services performed or to be per- 
formed for the Nabob? he said. He has heard that 
a part o^ this debt was given for tlie purposes men- 
tioned in the above question, but he does not know 
that it was so. — Being asked. Whether it was the 
general opinion of the settlement ? he said, He can- 
not say that it was the general opinion, but it was the 
opinion of a considerable part of the settlement. — 
Being asked. Whether it was the declared opinion 
of those that were concerned in the debt, or those 
tliiit were not ? he said. It was the opinion of botli 
pai-ties, at least such of them as he conversed with. — 
Being as'ed. Whether he has reason to believe that 
the interest really paid by the Nabob, upon obliga- 
tions given, or money lent, did not frequently exceed 
twelve per cent ? he said, Prior to the 1st of August. 
1774, he had had reason to believe that a higher in- 
terest than twelve per cent was pail by the Nabob on 
moneys lent to him ; but from and after that period, 
when the last act of Parliament took place in India, 

% I 



he does not know that more than twelve per cent 
had beeu paid by the Nabob, or received from him. — 
Being asked, Whether it is not his opinion that the 
Nabob has paid more than twelve per cent for money 
due since the 1st of August, 1774 ? he said. He has 
heard that he has, but he does not know it. — Being 
asked, Wliether he has been told so by any consider- 
able ard weighty authority, that was like to know? 
lie said. He has beeu so informed by persons who he 
believes had a very good opportunity of knowing it. — 
Being asked. Whether he was ever told so by the Na- 
Ijob of Arcot himself? he said. He does not recollect 
that the Nabob of Arcot directly told him so, but 
from what he said he did infer that he paid a high- 
er interest than twelve per cent. 

Mr. Smith being asked, Whether, in the course of 
trade, he ever sold anything to the Nabob of Arcot ? 
he said, In the year 1775 he did sell to the Nabob of 
Arcot pearls to the amount of 32,500 pagodas, for 
which the Nabob gave him an order or tankali on the 
country of Tanjore, payable in six months, without in- 
terest. — Being asked. Whether, at the time he asked 
the Nabob his price for the pearls, the Nabob beat 
down that price, as dealers commonly do ? he said, 
No; so far from it, he offered him more than he 
asked by 1000 pagodas, and which he rejected. — 
Being asked. Whether, in settling a transaction of 
discount with the Nabob's agent, he was not oflFered 
a greater discoimt than 121. per cent? he said. In 
discounting a soucar's bill for 180,000 pagodas, the 
Nabob's agent did offer him a discount of twenty- 
four per cent per annum, saying that it was the 
usual rate of discount paid by tlie Nabob ; but which 
he would not accept of, thinking himself confined by 



the act of Parliament limiting the interest of moneys 
to twelve per cent, and accordingly he discounted 
the bill at twelve per cent per annum only. — Being 
asked, Whether he does not tliink those offers were 
made him because the Nabob thought he was a per- 
son of some consequence in the settlement ? he said, 
Being only a private merchant, ho apprehends that 
the offer was made to him more from its being a 
general practice than from any opinion of his im- 

No. 3. 

Referred to from p. 38. 

A Bill for the Better Government of the Territorial 
Possessions and Dependencies in India. 

[ONB or MB fox's INDIA BILLS.] 

And be it further enacted by the authority afore- 
said, that the Nabob of Arcot, the Rajah of Tanjore, 
or any other native protected prince in India, shall 
not assign, mortgage, or pledge any territory or land 
whatsoever, or the produce or revenue thereof, to 
any British subject whatsoever; neither shall it be 
lawful to and for any British subject whatsoever to 
take or receive rny such assignment, mortgage, or 
pledge ; and the same are hereby declared to be null 
and void ; and all payments or deliveries of produce 
or revenue, under any such assignment, shall and 
may be recovered back, by such native prince paying 
or delivering the same, from the person or persons 
receiving the same, or his or their representatives. 

' n 









No. 4. 

Roftrred tu from pp. 64 and 73. 


S7tb May, I7S8. 

Letter from the Committee of Assigned Revenue, to 
the President and Select Committee, dated 21th 
May, 1782 ; with Comparative Statement, and Min- 
ute thereon. 

To the Right Honorable Lord Macartney, K. B., 
President, and Governor, &c., Select Committee of 
Port St. George. 

My Lord, and Gentlemen, — 

Although we have, in obedience to your commands 
of the 5th January, regularly laid before you our 
proceedings at large, and have occasionally addressed 
you upon such points as required your resolutions or 
orders for our guidance, we still think it necessary to 
collect and digest in a summary report those trans- 
actions in the management of the assigned revenue 
which have principally engaged our attention, and 
which, upon the proceeding, are too much intermixed 
with ordinary occurrences to be readily traced and un- 

Such a report may be formed with the greater pro- 
priety at this time, when your Lordship, &c., have 
been pleased to conclude your arrangements for the 
rent of several of the Nabob's '' tricts. Our aim in it 
is briefly to explain the state of the Carnatic at the 
period of the Nabob's assignment, — the particular 
causes which existed to the prejudice of that assign- 
ment, after it was made, — and the measures which 



your Lordship, &c., liavo, upon our recommendation, 
adopted for removing those causes, and introducing 
a more regular and beneficial system of management 
in the country. 

Hyder Ali liaving entered the Carnatic with his 
whole force, about the middle of July, 1780, and 
employed fire and sword in its destruction for near 
eigliteen months before tlio Nabob's assignment took 
place, it will not be difficult to conceive the state of 
the country at that period. In those provinces which 
were fully exposed to the ravages of horse, scarce 
a vestige remained either of population or agricul- 
ture: such of the miserable inhabitants as escaped 
the fury of the sword were eitlu . carried into the 
Mysore country or left to struggle under the horrors 
of famine. The Arcot and Trichinopoly districts be- 
gan early to feel the effects of this desolating war. 
Tinnovelly, Madura, and Ramnadaporum, though lit- 
tle infested with Hyder's troops, became a prey to the 
incursions of the Polygars, who stripped them of the 
greatest part of the revenues. Ongole, Nellore, and 
Palnaud, the only remaining districts, had suffered, 
but in a small degree. 

The misfortunes of war, however, were not the only 
evils which the Carnatic experienced. Tlie Nabob's 
aumildars, and other servants, appear to have taken 
advantage of the general confusion to enrich tlicm- 
selvos. A very small part of the revenue was ac- 
counted for ; and so high were the ordinary expenses 
of every district, that double tlie apparent produce of 
the wliolc country would not have satisfied tlicm. 

In this state, which we believe is no way exaggerat- 
ed, the Company took charge of the assigned countries. 
Their prospect of relief from the heavy burdens of the 


\ .1 



■■■» ^ 


war was, indeed, but little advanced by the Nabob's 
concession ; and tlio revenues of the Carnatic seemed 
in danger of being irrecoverably lost, unless a speedy 
and entire change of system could oo adopted. 

On our minutes of the 21st January we treated 
tlie subject of the assign ^t at some length, and 
pointed out th^- misch-.fs ich, in addition to the 
effects of the war, had arisen from what we conceived 
to be wrong and oppressive management. We xiscd 
the freedom to suggest an entire alteration in the 
mode of realizing the revenues. We proposed a con- 
sideidble and immediate reduction of expenses, and 
a total cliange of the principal aumildars who had 
l)een *' aployed under the Nabob. 

Our ideas had the good fortune to receive your 
approbation ; but the removal of the Nabob's servants 
being thought improper at that particular period of 
the collections, we employed our attention chiefly in 
preserving what revenue was left the country, and 
acquiring such materials as might lead to a more 
perfect knowledge of its former and present state. 

Tliese pursuits, as we apprehended, met with great 
obstructions from the conduct of the Nabob's servants. 
The orders they received were evaded under various 
pretexts ; no attention was paid to the strong and 
repeated applications made to them for tlio accounts 
of their management ; and their attachment to the 
Company's interest appeared, in every instance, so 
feeble, that wo saw no prospect whatever of success, 
but in the appointment of renters under the Com- 
pany's sole authority. 

Upon this principle, wo judged it expedient to rec- 
ommend that such of the Nabob's districts as were 
in a state to be farmed out might be immediately let 

. m 



by a pnltlic advertisement, igsued in tlio Company'g 
name, and circulated through every province of the 
Carnafio ; and, with the view of encouraging bidders, 
we pniposed tliat the countries might bo advertised 
for tlie whole period of the Nabob's assignment, and 
the security of the Company's protection promised 
in the fullest manner to such persons as might be- 
come renters. 

This plan had the desired etfect ; and the attempts 
which were secretly made to counteract it afforded 
an unequivocal proof of its necessity: but the ad- 
vantages resulting ft'om it wei'c more pleasingly 
evinced by the number of proposals that were deliv- 
ered, and by the terms which were in general offered 
for the districts intended to be farmed out. 

Having so far attained the purposes of the assign- 
ment, our attention was next turned to the heavy 
expenses entailed upon the different provinces ; and 
here, we confess, our astonishment was raised to the 
highest pitch. In the Trichinopoly country the stand- 
ing disbursements appeared, by tho I>abob's own ac- 
counts, to be one lac of rupees more than the re- 
ceipts. In other districts the charges were not in 
so high a proportion, but still rated on a most extrav- 
agant scale; and we saw, by every account that was 
brought before us, tlie absolute necessity of retrench- 
ing considerably in all the articles of expense. 

Our own reason, aided by such inquiries as we 
were able to make, suggested the alterations we have 
recommended to your Lordship, <&c., under this head. 
You will observe that we have not acted sparingly, 
but we chose rather, in cases of doubt, to incur the 
hazard of retrenching too much than too little ; be- 
cause it would bo easier, after any stated allowa: ^e 

I 1 

■ V 


for expenses, to add what might bo necessary than 
to diminish. We hope, however, there will bo no 
material increase in the articles, as they now Ftand. 
One considerable cliarge upon the Nabob's country 
was for extraordinary sibbendies, sepoys, and horse- 
men, who appeared to us to bo a very unnecessary 
incumbrance on tl»o revenue. Your Lordsliip, &c., 
have determined to receive such of these people as 
will enlist into the Company's service, and discharge 
the rest. This measure will not only relieve the 
country of a heavy burden, but tend greatly to fix in 
the Company that kind of authority which is requi- 
site for the duo collection of the revenues. 

In consequence of your determination respecting 
the Xabob's sepoys, <fec., every charge under that 
head has been struck out of our account of expenses. 
If the whole number of theso people be enlisted l)y 
the Company, there will probably bo no more than 
sufficient to complete their ordinary military cstab- 
lislimont. But should the present reduction of the 
Nabob's artillery render it expedient, after the war, 
to make any addition to tho Company's establish- 
ment for the purposes of the assigned countries, the 
expense of such addition, whatever it be, must be 
deducted from the present account of savings. 

In considering the charges of the several districts, 
in order to establisii better regulations, we were care- 
ful to discriminate those incurred for troops, kept or 
supposed to be kept up for the defence of tho country, 
from those of the sibbendy, servants, Ac, for tli.,' 
cultivation of the lands and the collection of tho rev- 
enues, as well as to pay attention to such of the es- 
tablished customs of the country, ancient privileges of 
the inliabitants, and public charities, as were neces- 




sarily allowed, and appeared proper to tiiiuod, 

but which, under the Nabob's gov nnu .>t!ro not 
ouly rated much higher, but Lk' mi blended under 
one confused and almost uuintelligiblu title of ex- 
penses of the districts : so joined, })erhap8, to atlbrd 
pleas and means of secreting and apjirupriating great 
part of the revenues to other purposes than fairly a{)- 
pearod ; and certainly betraying the utmost neglect 
and mismanagement, as giving latitude for every spe- 
cies of fraud and oppression. Such a system has, in 
the few latter years of the Nabob's necessities, brought 
all his countries into that situation from which noth- 
ing but the most rigid economy, strict observance of 
the conduct of managers, and the most conciliating 
attention to the rights of the inhabitants can possibly 
recover them. 

It now only remains for us to lay before your Lord- 
ship, &G., the inclosed statement of the sums at which 
the districts lately advertised have been let, compared 
with the accounts of their produce delivered by the 
Nabob, and entered on our proceedings of the 21st 
January, — likewise a comparative view of the former 
and jtre.-ent expenses. 

Tlie Nabob's accounts of the produce of these dis 
triots state, as we have some reason to think, the 
sums wl'ich former renters engaged to pay to him, 
(and which were seldom, if ever, made good,) nnd 
not the sums actually produced by the districts ; yet 
wo have tlie satisfaction to observe that the present 
aggregate rents, upon an average, are equal to those 
accounts. Your Lordship, &c., cannot, indeed, expect, 
that, in the midst of the danger, invasion, and dis- 
tress wiiich assail the Carnatic on every side, the 
renters now appointed '.vill be able at prcKcnt to ful- 



\ \ 









fil the terms of their leases ; but we trust, from the 
measures we have taken, that very little, if any, of 
the actual collections will be lost, even during the 
war, — and that, on the return of peace and tranquil- 
lity, the renters will have it in their power fully to 
perform their respective agreements. 

We much regret that the situation of the Arcot 
province will not admit of the same settlement which 
has been made for the other districts ; but the enemy 
being in possession of the capital, together with sev- 
eral other strongholds, and having entirely desolated 
the country, tiiere is little room to hope for more 
from it than a bare subsistence to the few garrisons 
we have left there. 

We shall not fail to give our attention towards ob- 
taining every information respecting this province 
that the present times will permit, and to take the 
first opportunity to propose such arrangements for 
the management as we may think eligible. 
We have the honor to be 

Your most obedient humble servants, 
Charles Oakley, 
Eyles Irwin, 
Hall Plumer, 
David Halibubton, 
George Moobbay. 

Fort St. Ueoboe. S7th May, 1782. 

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No. 6. 
Refbmd to fipom p. 78. 

Case of certain Persont renting the Assigned Lands 
under the Autharity of the Uast India Company. 

Extract of a Letter from the Presi lent and Council of Fort 
St George, 25th May, 1783. 

One of them [the renters], R&m Chunder Raus, 
was, indeed, one of those unfortunate rajahs whose 
country, by being near to the territories of the Nabob^ 
forfeited its title to independence, and became the 
prey of ambition and cupidity. This man, though 
not able to resist the Company's arms, employed in 
such a deed at the NdboVs instigation, had industry 
and ability. He acquired, hy a series of services, even 
the confidence of the Nabob, who suffered him to 
rent a part of the country of which he had deprived him 
of the property. This man had afforded no motive for 
his rejection by the Nabob, but that of being ready to 
engage with the Company : a motive most powerful, 
indeed, but not to be avowed. 

[This is the person whom the English instruments 
of the Nabob of Arcot have had the audacity to 
charge with a corrupt transaction with Lord Macart- 
ney, and, in support of that charge, to produce a 
forged letter from his Lordship's steward. The charge 
and letter the reader may see in this Appendix, under 
the proper head. It is asserted by the unfortunate 
pruice above mentioned, that the Company first set- 
tled on the coast of Coromandel under tlie protection 
of one of his ancestors. If this be true, (and it is far 



from unlikely,) the world must judge of the return 
tlie descendant has met with. The case of another 
of the victims given up by the ministry, though not 
altogether so striking as the former, is worthy of at- 
tention. It is that of the renter of the Province of 

It is, with a wantonness of falsehood, and indiffer- 
ence to detection, asserted to you, in proof of the 
validity of the Nabob's objections, that this man's 
failures had already forced us to remove him : though 
in thct he has continued invariably in office ; thougu 
our greatest supplies have been received from him ; and 
that, in the disappointment of your remittances [the 
remittances from Bengal] and of other resources, ''^e 
specie sent us from Nellore alone has sometimes ena- 
bled us to cf .T on the public business ; and that the 
present <:^ ■ ,i against the French must, without 
this assi n: >om th*e assignment, have been laid 
aside, or d* • ed until it might have become too 

[This man is by the ministry given over to the 
mercy of persons capable of making charges on him 
'' with a wantonness of falsehood, and indifference to 
detection^ What is likely to happen to him and the 
rest of the victims may appear by the following.] 



Letter to the Qovemor-General and Council, March 
nth, 1782. 

The speedy termination, to which the people were 
taught to look, of the Company's interference in the 
revenues, and the vengeance denounced against those 
who, contrary to the mandate of the Durbar, should 
be connected with them, as reported by Mr. Sulivan, 

VOL. 111. 9 




J it.; I fU 


may, as much as the former exactions and oppres- 
sions of the Nabob in the revenue, as reported by the 
commander-in-chief, have deterred some of the fittest 
men from offering to be concerned in it. 

The timid disposition of the Hindoo natives of 
this country was not likely to be insensible to the 
specimen if that vengeance given by his Excellency 
the Amir, who, upon ';he mere rumor, that a Bramin, 
of the name of Appagee Row, had given proposals to 
the Company for the rentership of Vellore, had the 
temerity to send for him, and to put him in confine- 

A man thus seized by the Nabob's sepoys within 
the walls of Madras gave a general alarm, and govern- 
ment found it necessary to promise the protection of 
the Company, in order to cjjm the apprehensions of 
the people. 


No. 6. 

Refen«d to from pp. 101 and 105. 

Extract of a Letter from the Council and Select Com- 
mittee at Fort St. George, to the Governor- General 
and Council, dated 2oth May, 1783. 

In the prosecution of our duty, we beseech you to 
consider, as an act of strict and necessary justice, pre- 
vious to reiteration of your orders for the surrender 
of the assignment, how far it would be likely to affect 
third persons who do not appear to have committed 
any breach of their engagements. You command us 
to compel our aumils to deliver over their respective 



charges as shall be appointed by the Nabob, or to 
retain their trust under his sole authority, if he shall 
choose to confirm thoii. These aumils are really 
renters ; they were appointed in the room of the Na- 
bob's aumils, and contrary to his wishes ; they have 
already been rejected by him, and are therefore not 
likely to be confirmed by him. They applied to this 
government, in consequence of public advertisements 
in our name, as possessing in this instance the joint 
authority of the Nabob and the Company, and have 
entered into mutual and strict covenants with us, an'' 
we with them, relative to the certain districts not ao 
tually in the possession of the onemy ; by which cove- 
nants, as they are bound to the punctual payment of 
their rents and due management of the country, so 
we, and our constituents, and the public faith, are in 
like manner bound to maintain them in the enjoy- 
ment of their leases, during the continuance of the 
term. That term was for five years, agreeably to the 
words of the assignment, which declare that the time 
of renting shall be for three or five years, as the Gov- 
ernor shall settle with the renters. — Tlieir bases 
cannot be legally torn from them. Nothing but their 
previous breach of a part could justify our breach of 
the whole. Such a stretch and abuse of power would, 
indeed, not only savor of the assumption of sover- 
eignty, but of arbitrary and oppressive despotism. 
In the present contest, whether the Nabob be guilty, 
or we be guilty, the renters are not guilty. Which- 
ever of the contending parties has broken the condi- 
tion of the assignment, the renters have not broken 
the condition of their leases. These men, in conduct- 
ing the business of the assignment, have acted in 
opposition to the designs of tie Nabob, in despite of 




the menaces denounced against all who should dare 
to oppose the mandates of the Durbar justice. Grat- 
itude and humanity require that provision should bo 
made by you, before you set the Nabob's ministers 
loose on the country, for the protection of the victims 
devoted to their vengeance. 

Mr. Benfield, to secure the permanency of his pow- 
er, and the perfection of his schemes, thought it 
necessary to render the Nabob an absolute stranger 
to ihe state of his affairs. He assured his Highness 
that full justice was not done to the strength of his 
sentiments and the keenness of his attacks, in the 
translations that were made by the Company's ser- 
vants from the original Persian of his letters. He 
therefore proposed to him that they should for the 
future be transmitted in English. — Of the English 
language or writing his Highness or the Amir can- 
not read one word, though the latter can converse in 
it with sufficient fluency. The Persian language, as 
the language of the Mahomedan conquerors, and 
of the court of Delhi, as an appendage or signal 
of authority, was at all times particularly affected 
by the Nabob. It is the language of all acts of 
state, and all public transactions, among the Mus- 
sulman chiefs of Hindostan. The Nabob thought to 
have gained no inconsiderable point, in procuring the 
correspondence from our predecessors to the Rajah 
of Tanjore to be changed from the Mahratta lan- 
guage, which that Hindoo prmce understands, to the 
Persian, which he disclaims understanding. To force 
the Rajah to the Nabob's language was gratifying tlie 
latter with a new species of subserviency. lie liad 
formerly contended with consideral)le anxiety, and, it 
was thou'j^ht, no inconsiderable cost, for particular 

It ■» 



fonns of address to be used towards him in that 
language. But all of a sudden, in favor of Mr. 
Benfield, he quits his former affections, his habits, 
his knowledge, his curiosity, the increasing mistrust 
of age, to throw himself upon the generous candor, 
the faithful interpretation, the grateful return, and el- 
oquent organ of Mr. Benfield ! — Mr 3enfield relates 
and reads what he pleases to his Excellency the Amir- 
ul-Omrah; his Excellency communicates with the Nabob, 
his father, in the language the latter understands. 
Through two channels so pure, the truth must arrive 
at the Nabob in perfect refinement ; through this double 
trust, his Highness receives whatever impression it may 
be convenient to make on him : he abandons his signa- 
ture to whatever paper they tell him contains, in the 
English language, the sentiments with which they had 
inspired him. He thus is surrounded on every side. 
He is totally at their mercy, to believe what is not true, 
and to subscribe to what he does not mean. There is no 
system so new, so foreign to his intentions, that they 
may not pursue in his name, without possibility of de- 
tection : for they are cautious of who approach him, 
and have thought prudent to decline, for him, the visits 
of the Governor, even upon the usual solemn and ac- 
ceptable occasion of delivering to his Highness the 
Company's letters. Such is the complete ascendency 
gained by Mr. Benfield. It may be partly explained 
by the facts observed already, some years ago, by Mr. 
Benfield himself, in regard to the Nabob, of the in- 
firmities natural to his advanced age, joined to the 
decays of his constitution. To this ascendency, in 
proportion as it grew, must chiefly be ascribed, if not 
the origin, at least tlie continuance and increase, of 
the Nabob's disunion with this Presidency : a dis- 

''•1 f V 1 5 

i'.' >H 


■■ ■• ii 




union which creates the importance and subserves 
the resentments of Mr. Benfield ; and an atcendeney 
which, if you effect the surrender of the assignments 
will entirely leave the exercise of power and accumula- 
tion of fortune at his boundless discretion: to him, and 
to the Amir-ul-Oinrah, and to Seyd Assam Caton, the 
assignment would in fact be surrendered. He will 
(if A\f) BE TUE aovCAR SECURITY; and Security 
in this country is counter-secured by possession. You 
would not choose to take the assignment from the C 
pany, to give it to individuals. Of the impropriety 
of its returning to the Nabob, Mr. Benfield would 
now again argue from his former observations, that, 
under his Highness's management, hi? country de- 
clined, his people emigrated, his revenues decreased, 
and his country was rapidly approaching to a state of 
political insolvency. Of Seyd Assam Cawn we judge 
only from the observations this letter already contains. 
But of the other two persons [Amir-ul-Onirah and 
Mr. Benfield] we undertake to declare, not as parties 
in a cause, or even as voluntary witnesses, but as ex- 
ecutive officers, reporting to you, in the discharge of 
our duty, and under the impression of the sacred obli- 
gation whicli binds us to truth, as well as to justice, 
that, from every observation of their principles and 
dispositions, and every information of their character 
and conduct, they have prosecuted projects to the in- 
jury and danger of the Company and individuals ; 
that it would be improper to trust, and dangerous to 
employ them, in any puMic or important situation ; that 
the tranquillity of the Camatic requires a restraint to 
the pcwer of the Amir; and that the Company, whose 
service and protection Mr. Benfield has repeatedly and 
recently forfeited, woidd be more secure against danger 



and confusion, if he were removed from their teveral 

[After the above solemn declaration from sn 
weighty an authority, the principal object of that 
awful and deliberate warning, instead of being " re- 
moved from the several Presidencies," is licensed to 
return to one of the principal of those Presidencies, 
and the grand theatre of the operations on account of 
whicli the Presidency recommends his total removal. 
Tlic reason given is, for the accommodation of that 
very debt which has been the chief instrument of his 
dangerous practices, and the main cause of all the 
confusions in the Company's government.] 



i' J 

No. 7. 

Referred to from pp. 82, 88, and 89. 

Extracts from the Evidence of Mr. Petrie, late Resi- 
dent for the Company at Tanjore, given to the Select 
Committee, relative to the Mevenues and State of the 
Country, ^c, ^c. 

9th May, 1782. 

WiLUAM Petrie, Esq., attending according to order, 
was asked, T.i what station he was in the Company's 
service ? he said. He went to India in the year 1765, 
a writer upon the Madras establishment : he was em- 
ployed, during the former war with Eydor Ali, in 
the capacity of paymaster and commissary to part of 
the army, and was afterwards paymaster and commis- 
sary to the army in the first siege of Tanjore, and the 


K. ' h 


II ( 


subsequent campaigns ; then secretary to the Secret 
Department from 1772 to 1775 ; ho came to England 
in 1775, and returned again to Madras the beginning 
of 1778 ; ho was resident at the durbar of the Rajuli 
of Tanjore from that time to the month of May ; and 
from that time to January, 1780, was chief of Nagore 
and Carrical, tho first of wliich was received from the 
Rajah of Tanjore, and the second was taken from the 
French. — Being asked, Who sent him to Tanjore ? 
he said. Sir Tliomas Rumbold, and the Secret Com- 
mittee. — Being then asked. Upon what errand ? he 
said, He went first up with a letter from the Com- 
pany to the Rajah of Tanjore : he was directed to 
give the Rajah the strongest assurances tliat he 
should be kept in possession of his country, and every 
privilege to which he had been restored ; he was like- 
wise directed to negotiate with the Rajah of Tanjore 
for the cession of the seaport and district of Nagore 
in lieu of the town and district of Devicotta, which 
he had promised to Lord Pigot: these were the prin- 
cipal, and, to tho best of his recollection at present, 
the only objects in view, when ; was first sent up to 
Tanjore. In the course of his stay at Tanjore, other 
matters of busmess occurred between the Company 
and the Rajah, which came under his management as 
resident at that durbar. — Being i<.sked. Whether tho 
Rajah did deliver up to him the town and tlie an- 
nexed districts of Nagore voluntarily, or whether he 
was forced to it? he said. When he ruade the first 
proposition to the Rajah, agreeable to the directions 
he had received from the Secret Committee at Madras, 
m the most free, open, and liberal manner, the Hajah 
told him the seaport of Nagore was entirely at the 
service of his benefactors, the Company, and that he 



was happy in having that opportunity of testifying his 
gratitude to them. These may be supposed to be 
words of course ; but, from every experience which he 
had of the Rajah's mind and conduct, wliilst he was 
at Tanjoro, lie lias reason to believe that his declara- 
tions of gratitude to the Company were perfectly sin- 
cere. He speaks to the town of Nagore at present, 
and a certain district, — not of the districts to the 
amount of wliich they afterwards received. The 
Rujali Juiced him. To what amount he expected a 
jaghiro to the Company? And the witness further 
said, That ho acknowledged to the committee that he 
was not instructed upon that head ; that he wrote for 
orders to Madras, and was directed to ask the Rajah 
for a jaghire to a certain amount ; that this gave 
rise to a long negotiation, the Rajah representing to 
him his inability to make such a gift to the Company 
as the Secret Committee at Madras seemed to expect ; 
while he (the witness) on the other hand, was di- 
rected to make as good a bargain as ho could for the 
Company. From the view that he then took of the 
Rajah's finances, from the situation of his country, 
and from the load of debt which pressed hard upon 
him, ho believes he at diffennit times, in his corre- 
spondence with the government, represented the ne- 
cessity of their being moderate in their demands, and 
it was at last agreed to accept of the town of Nagore, 
valued at a certain annual revenue, and a jaghire an- 
nexed to the town, the whole amounting to 250,000 
rupees. — Being asked, Whether it did turn out so 
valuable ? he said, He had not a doubt but it would 
turn out more, as it was let for more than that to 
farmers at Madras, if they had managed the districts 
properly ; hut they were strangers to the manners and 


: I 


cu»tom» of the people; when ihey cam !■ m, they op- 
pressed the inhabitants, and threw thi n \ole dintriet 
into contusion / the inhabitants, many of them, left the 
country, and deserted the cultivation of their lands; of 
eouritc the farmers were disappointed of their collections, 
and they have since failed, and the Company have lost a 
considerable part of what the farmers were to pay for 
the jayhit-e. — Being asked, Who tliese farmers were? 
he said, One of thorn was the renter of the St. Thom^ 
district, near Madras, and the other, and the most 
responsible, was a Madras dubash. — Being asked, 
Whom he was dubash to? he said. To Mr. Cass- 

Being asked, Whether the leaso was made upon 
higher terms than the district was rated to him by 
the Rajah? he said. It was. — Being then asked, 
Wiiat reason was assigned why the district was not 
kept under the former management by aumildars, or 
let to persons in the Tatyore country acquainted with 
the district? he said, No reasons were assigned: he 
was directed from Madras to advertise them to be let 
to persons of the country ; but before he received any 
proposal, he received accounts tliat they were let at 
Madras, in consequence of public advertisements which 
had been made there : he believes, indeed, there were 
very few men in those districts responsible enough to 
have been intrusted with tlie lanagcment of tliose 
lands. — Being asked, Wliether, at the time he was 
auinorized to negotiate for Nagore in the place of 
Devicotta, Devicotta \yas given iid to the Riijah : lie 
said. No. — Being asked. Whether the Rajah of Tan- 
jore did not frequently desire that the districts of 
Arnee and Hanamantagoody should be restored to 
him, agreeable to treaty, and the Company's ordei-s 




to Lord Figot? he said. Many a time; d he law- 
mittod iiis representations regularly tu Madii . — 
Being then asked, Wli .ther liu o plan woru re- 
stored to hiih ? be said, Vot vhilo Uo vra,> : t India. 

Being asked, Whethoi he won nut authorized and 
rcuuiroii by fhu Presidency ;>' Madras to demand a 
large sum of money over and alwjve the four lacs of 
jKigodas th:it were to be annu;tlly paid by n grant of 
ti»o Rajah, made in the tini. 'f Lord Pigot .' he said, 
He was: to ihu iinount, he beliove^. of four lacs of 
pagodas, coraraonly knowu by tlio aamo :' deposit- 
njoney. — Doing asked Wiiether tlie Rajali did not 

roquently plead his inability to pa\ that mo '-yt he 
said. He did every time he mentiu <l it, ai i com- 
plained loudly of tiio demand. — Uaui^ askixi. Wheth- 
er iie thiiiks those complaints were Wfll founded? he 
say*. He thinks tiie Rajah of Tanjore was not only 
not in a state of ability to pay the dcposit-m )ney, U\xi 
that the annual payment i four U^s of pagodas was 
moi\; tlian his revenues mid afford. — Beii>g ask- d. 
Wlietbei he was not fro.jaontly obliged to bor^w 
money, in order to pay die instalments of tlio an. ual 
pnyinunts, and such parts as he paid of tlio deposit i»e 
sail, Yo^, ho was. — Bein_ asked, Whi to lie borrow- 
ed tlie money? he s; Ho believes r»rincii)ally froni 
so 'jiirs or native ba .tiers, and some t Madras, as h 
toll lain. — Doing u^ked. TV lether liO to! i him that 
I'is credit was very gi )d, und thu he '•orrow.' upon 

.odcrato interest? he said, That he told him h- lound 
-reat difficulti s iu raising aoney, and was o.liged to 
tiorrow .It a most exorbitant in t' rest, even P(Mae of it 
at forty-eiirht per cent, and he believes not a , reat 
deal under it. He desi, d h< {the witness) to a/irmk 
to one of the soucars or banker it Tanjore to accoi.imo- 

■ I 



\ !' 

"ii 1 

" ■ ■ • '• 


date him with a loan of money : that man showed him 
an account between him and the Rajah, from which it 
appeared that he charged forty-eight per cent, besides 
compound interest. — Being asked, Whether the sums 
due yere large? he said, Yes, they were cousider- 
able; though he does not recollect the amount. — 
Being asked, Whether the banker lent the money? 
he said, He would not, unless the witness could pro- 
cure him payment of his old arrears. 

Being asked, What notice did the govornaant of 
Madras take of the king of Tanjore's representations 
of the state of his affairs, and his inability to pay ? he 
said. He does not recollect, that, in their correspond- 
ence with him, there was any reasoning upon the 
subject ; and in his correspondence with Sir Thomas 
Bumbold, upon the amount of the jaghire, he seemed 
very desirous of adapting the demand of government 
to the Rajah's circumstances ; but, whilst he stayed at 
Taiyore, the Rajah was not exonerated from any part 
of his burdens. — Being asked. Whether they ever de- 
sired the Rajah to make up a statement of his accounts, 
disbursements, debts, and payments to the Company, 
in order to ascertain whether the country was able to 
pay the increasing demands upon it ? he said, Through 
him he is certain they never did. — Being then asked, 
If he ever heard whether they did through any one 
else ? he said, He never did. 

Being asked. Whether the Rajah is not bound to 
furnish the cultivators of land with seed for their 
crops, according to the custom of tlie country ? he 
said. The king of Tanjore, as proprietor of the land, 
always makes advances of money for seed for the culti- 
vation 'f the land. — Being then asked. If money be- 
yond his power of furnishing shoidd be extorted from 



him, might it not prevent, in the first instance, the 
means of cultivating the country? he said, It cer- 
tainly does; he knows it for a fact; and he knows, that, 
when he left the country, there were se^jeral districts which 
were uncultivated from that cause. — Being asked, 
Whether it is not necessary to be at a considerable 
expense in order to keep up the mounds and water- 
courses ? he said, A very considerable one annually. — 
Being asked. What would be the consequence, if 
money should fail for that ? he said. In the first in- 
stance, the country would he partially supplied with wa- 
ter, some districts would he overflowed, and others would 
be parched. — Being asked. Whether there is not a 
considerable dam called the Anient, on the keeping 
up of which the prosperity of the country greatly de- 
pends, and which requires a great expense ? he said. 
Yes, there is: the whole of the Tanjore country is 
admirably well supplied with water, nor can he con- 
ceive any method could be fallen upon more happily 
adapted to the cultivation and prosperity of the coun- 
try ; but, as the Anient is the source of that prosper- 
ity, any injury done to that must essentially affect 
all the other works in the country : it is a most stu 
pendous piece of masonry, but, from the very great 
floods, frequently requiring repairs, which if neg- 
lected, not only the expense of repairing must be 
greatly increased, but a general injury done to the 
whole country. — Being asked. Whether that dam 
has been kept in as good preservation since the preva- 
lence of the English government as before ? he said. 
From his own knowledge he cannot tell, but from 
everything he has read or heard of the former pros- 
perity and opulence of the kings of Tanjore, lie should 
suppose not. — Being asked, Whether he does not 




1 M /• I 

I ' 






know of several attempts that have been made to 
prevent the repair, and even to damage the work ? 
he said, The Rajah himself frequently complained 
of that to him, and he has likewise heard it from 
others at Tanjore. — Being asked, Who it was that 
attempted those acts of violence ? he said. He was told 
it was the inhabitants of the Nabob's country adjoin- 
ing to the Anient. — Being asked, Whether they were 
not set on or instigated by the Nabob ? he answered, 
The Rajah said so. — And being asked, What steps 
the President and Council took to punish the authors 
and prevent those violences ? he said. To the best of 
his recollection, the Governor told him he would make 
inquiries into it, but he Cans not know that any in- 
quiries were made ; that Sir Thomas Rumbold, the 
Governor, informed him that he had laid his repre 
sentations with respect to the Anient before the 
Nabob, who denied that his people had given any 
interruption to the repairs of that work. 

lOth May. 

Being asked. What he thinks the real clear receipt 
of the revenues of Tanjore were worth when he left 
it ? he said. Re cannot say what was the net amount, 
as he does not know the expense of the Rajah's col 
lection ; but while he was at Tanjore, he understood 
from the Rajah himself, and from his ministers, that 
the gross collection did not exceed nine lacs of pago- 
das (360,000^.). — Being asked, Whether he thinks 
the country could pay the eight lacs of pagodas wliich 
had been demanded to be paid in the course of one 
year? he said, Clearly not. — Being asked, Whetlier 
there was not an attempt made to remove the Rajah's 
minister, upon some delay in payment of the deposit ? 




he said, The OoTcmor of Madras wrote to that effect, 
which he represented to the Rajah. — Being asked. 
Who was mentioned to succeed to the minister that 
then was, in case he should be removed ? he said, 
When Sir Hector Munro came afterwards to Tanjore, 
the old daubiere was mentioned, and recommended 
to the Rajah as successor to his then dewan. — Being 
asked, Of what age was the daubiere at that time ? 
he said. Of a very great age : upwards of fourscore. — 
Being asked. Whether a person called Kanouga Saba 
Pilla was not lil.owise named ? he said, Yes, he was : 
he was recommended by Sir Thomas Rumbold ; and 
one recommendation, as well as I can recollect, went 
through me. — Being asked. What was the reason 
of his being recommended ? he said. He undertook 
to pay off the Rajah's debts, and to give security for 
the regular payment of the Rajah's instalments to 
the Company. — Being asked. Whether he offered 
to give any security for preserving the country from 
oppression, and for supporting the dignity of the Ra- 
jah and his people ? he said. He does not know that 
he did, or that it was asked of him. — Being asked. 
Whether he was a person agreeable to the Rajah? 
he said, He was not. — Being asked. Whether he was 
not a person who had fled out of the country to avoid 
the resentment of the Rajah? he said, He was. — 
Being asked. Whether he was not charged by t e 
Rajah with malpractices, and breach of trust rela- 
tive to his effects ? he said, He was ; but he told the 
Governor that he would account for his conduct, and 
explain everything to the satisfaction of the Rajah. — 
Being asked, Whether the Rajah did not consider 
this man as in the interest of his enemies, and partic- 
ularly of the Nabob of Arcot and Mr. Benfield ? he 






ft' m 




said. He does not recollect that he did mention that 
to him : ho remembers to have heard him complnin 
of a transaction between Kanonga Saba Pill a and 
Mr. Boiifield; but he told him ho had been guilty 
of a variety of malpractices in his administration, 
that he had oppressed the people, and defrauded 
him. — Being asked, In what branch of business the 
Rajah had formerly employed him ? he said, He was 
at one time, he believes, renter of the whole cotmtry, 
was supposed to have great influence with the Rajah, 
and was in fact de\.an some time. — Being asked. 
Whether the nomination of that man was not partic- 
ularly odious to the Rajah? he said, He found the 
Rajah's mind so exceedingly averse to that man, that 
he believes he would almost as soon have submitted 
to his being deposed as to submit to the nomination 
of that man to be his prime-minister. 

13tb May. 

Mr. Petrie being asked. Whether he was informed 
by the Rajah, or by others, at Tanjore or Madras, 
that Mr. Benfield, whilst he managed the revenues 
at Tanjore, during the usurpation of the Nabob, did 
not treat the inhabitants with great rigor ? he said. 
He did hear from the Rajah that Mr. Benfield did 
ti-eat the inhabitants with rigor during the time ho 
liad anything to do with the administration of the 
revenues of Tanjore. — Being asked, If he recollects 
in what particulars ? he said. The Rajah particularly 
complained that grain had been delivered out to the 
inhabitants, for tlie purposes of cultivation, at a high- 
er price than the market price of grain in the coun- 
try ; lie cannot say the actual difference of price, but 
it struck him at the time as something very consider- 



able. — Being asked, Whether that money was all 
recovered from the inhabitants? he said, The Rajah 
of Tanjore told him that the money was all recov- 
ered from the inhabitants. — Being asked. Whether 
he did not hear that the Nabob exacted from tlie 
country of Tanjore, whilst he was in possession of it? 
he said, From the accounts which he received at Tan- 
jore of the revenues for a numbei of years past, it 
appeared that the Nabob collected from the country, 
wliile lie was in possession, rather more than sixteen 
lacs of pagodas annually ; whereas, when he was at 
Tanjore, it did not yield more than nine lacs. — Be- 
ing asked. From whence that dilforence arose? ho 
said. When Tanjore was conquered for the Nabob, 
he has been told that many thousand of the native 
inhabitants fled from the country, some into the 
country of Mysore, and others into the dominions 
of the Mahrattas ; he understood from the same au- 
thority, that, while the Nabob was in possession of the 
country, many inhabitants from the Carnatic, allured 
by the superior fertility and opulence of Tanjore, and 
encouraged by the Nabob, took up their residence 
there, which enabled the Nabob to cultivate the 
whole country ; and upon the restoration of the Ra- 
jah, he has heard that the Carnatic inhabitants were 
carried back to their own country, which left a consid- 
erable blank in the population, whicli was not re ^.accd 
while he WiT there, principally owing to an opinion 
which prevailed through the country that the Ra- 
jali's government was not to be permanent, but that 
another revolution was fast approaching. During 
the Nabob's government, the price of grain was con- 
siderably higher (owing to a very unusual scarcity in 
t^^ Carnatic) than when ho was in Tanjore. — Be- 





ing asked, Whether he was ever in the Marawar 
country? he said, Yes; he was commissary to the 
army in that expedition. — Being asked, Wliether 
that country was much wasted by the war ? he said, 
Plunder was not permitted to the army, nor did the 
country suffer from its operations, except in causing 
many thousands of the inhabitants, who had been em- 
ployed in the cultivation of the country, to leave it. 

— Being asked. Whether he knows what is done with 
the palace and inhabitants of Ramnaut ? he said. 
The town was taken by storm, but not plundered by 
the troops ; it was immediately delivered up to the 
Nabob's eldest son. — Being asked, Whether great 
riches were not supposed to be in that palace and 
temple? he said. It was imiversally believed so. — Be- 
ing asked. What account was given of them? he said. 
He cannot tell; everything remained in tlie posses- 
sion of the Nabob. — Being asked, What became of 
tlie cliildren and women of the family of the prince 
of that country ? he said. The Rajah was a minor ; 
the government was in the hands of the Ranny, his 
mother : from general report he has heard they were 
carried to Trichinopoly, and placed in confinement 
there. — Being asked, Whether he perceived any 
difference in the face of the Carnatic when ho first 
knew it and when he last knew it? he said, He 
thinks he did, particularly in its population. — Being 
asked, Whether it was better or worse ? he said, It 
was not so populous. — Being asked, What is the con- 
dition of the Nabob's eldest son ? he said, He was in 
tlie Black Town of Madras, when he left the country. 

— Being asked, Whether he was entertained there 
in a manner suitable to his birth and expectations ? 
he said, No : lie lived there without any of those ex- 




tenor marks of splendor which princes of his rank in 
India are particularly fond of. — Being asked, Wheth- 
er ho has not heard that his appointments were poor 
and mean ? he said, He has heard that they were not 
equal to his rank and expectations. — Being asked, 
Whetlier he had any share in the government? he 
said, Ho believes none : for some years past tlie Na- 
bob has delegated most of the powers of government 
to his second son. — Being asked. Whether the Rajah 
did not complain to him of the behavior of Mr. Ben- 
field to himself personally; and what were the partic- 
ulars ? he said, He did so, and related to liim the fol- 
lowing particulars. About fifteen days after Lord 
Pigot's confinement, Mr. Benfield came to Tanjore, 
and delivered the Rajah two letters from the then Gov- 
ernor, Mr. Stratton, — one public, and the other pri- 
vate. Ho demanded an immediate account of the 
presents wliich had been made to Lord Pigot, pay- 
ment of the tunkahs which he (Mr. Benfield) had re- 
ceived from the Nabob upon the country, and that the 
Rajah should only write sucli letters to the Madras gov- 
ernment as Mr. Benfield should approve and give to 
him. The Rajah answered, that he did not acknowl- 
edge the validity of any demands made by the Na- 
bob upon the country ; tliat those tunkahs related to 
accounts wliich he (the Rajah) had no concern with ; 
that he never had given Lord Pigot any presents, 
but Lord Pigot had given him many ; and that as to 
his correspondence with the Madras government, he 
would not trouble Mr. Benfield, because he would 
write his letters himself. That the Rajah told the 
witness, that by reason of this answer he was much 
threatened, in consequence of which he desired Colo- 
nel Harper, who then commanded at Tanjore, to be 




I ) 


present at his next interview with Mr. Beniield ; when 
Mr. Benfield denied many parts of the preceding con- 
versation, and threw the blame upon his interpreter, 
Comroo. When Mr. Benfield found (as the Rajah 
informed him) that he could not carry these points 
which had brought him to Tanjore, he prepared to 
set off for Madras ; that the Rajah sent him a letter 
which ho had drawn out. in answer to one which Mr. 
Benfield had brought him ; tliat Mr. Benfield disap- 
proved of the answer, and returned it by Comroo to 
the durbar, who did not deliver it into the Rajah's 
hands, but threw it upon the ground, and expressed 
himself improperly to him. 

Being asked. Whether it was at the king of Tan- 
joro's desire, that such persons as Mr. Benfield and 
Comroo had been brought into his presence ? he said. 
The Rajah told him, that, when Lord Pigot came to 
Tanjore, to restore him to his dominions, Comroo, 
without being sent for, or desired to come to the pal- 
ace, had found means to get access to his person : ha 
made an offer of introducing Mr. Benfield to the Ra- 
jah, which he declined. — Being asked. Whether the 
military officer commanding there protected the Rajah 
from the intrusion of such people ? he said, The Rajah 
did not tell him that he called upon the military offi- 
cer to prevent these intrusions, but that he desired 
Colonel Harper to be present as a witness to what 
might pass between him and Mr. Benfield. — Being 
asked. If it is usual for persons of the conditions and 
occupations of Mr. Benfield and Comroo to intrude 
themselves into the presence of the princes of the 
country, and to treat them with such freedom? he 
said, Certainly it is not : less there than in any other 
country. — Being asked, Whether the king of Tan 

. kS i , 



jore has no ministors to whom application might be 
made to transact such business as Mr. Benfield and 
Comroo had to do in the country ? he said, Undoubt- 
edly: his minister is tlio person whose province it is 
to transact that business. — Being asked, Before the 
invasion of the British troops into Tanjore, what 
would have been the consequence, if Mr. Benfield 
had intruded himself into the Rajali's presence, and 
behaved in that manner? he said, He could not say 
what would have been the consequence ; but the at- 
tempt would have been madness, and could not have 
happened. — Being asked, Whether the Rajah had 
not particular exceptions to Comroo, and thought he 
had betrayed him in very essential points? he said. 
Yes, he had. — Being asked, Wliether the Rajah has 
not been apprised that the Company have made stip- 
ulations that their servants should not interfere in 
the conoerns of his government? he said, He sig- 
nified it to the Rajah, that it was the Company's 
positive orders, and that any of their servants so 
intei-fering would incur their highest displeasure. 

No. 8. 

Referred to from p. 87, &c 

Commiasioners' Amended Clauses for the Fort St. 
George Dispatch, relative to the Indeterminate 
Rights and Pretensions of the Nahol <f Arcot 
and Eajah of Tanjore. 

In our lettjr of the 28th January last we stated 
the reasonableness of our expectation that certain 


contributious towards tho expenses of the war should 
be made by the Rajah of Tanjore. Since writing tiiat 
letter, wo have received one from the Rajah, of tiio 
15th of October last, which contains at length his re|>. 
resentations of his inability to make such further 
payment. We think it unnecessary hero to discuss 
whether these representations are or are not oxagger- 
ated, because, from the explanations we have given 
of our wishes for a new arrangement in future, Ijoth 
with the Nabob of Arcot and the Rajah of Tanjore, 
and the directions wo have given you to carry that 
arrangement into execution, wo think it impolitic to 
insist upon any demands upon the Rajah for tho ex- 
penses of the late war, beyond tho sum of four lacs 
of pagodas annually: sucli a demand might tend to 
interrupt the harmony wliich should prevail between 
the Comi)any and the Rajah, and impede the great 
objects of the general system we have already so 
fully explained to you. 

But although it is not our opinion that any furthei 
claim should be made on the Rajali for his share of 
tho extraordinary expenses of tlio late war, it is by 
no means our intention in any manner to affect tho 
just claim which the Nabob has on tho Rajah for the 
arrears due to him on account of peshcush, for the 
regular payment of wliich we became guaranty by 
the treaty of 1762; hut we have already expressed 
to you our hojius that tlie Nabob may be induced to 
allow these am irs and the growing payments, when 
due, to b. received by the Company, and carried in 
discharge of his debt to us. You are at tlie same 
time to use every means to convince him, tliat, when 
this debt shall be discharged, it is our intention, as 
we are bound by the above treaty, to exert ourselves 



to the utmost of our power to insure the constant 
and regular payment of it into his own hands. 

Wo obscrvo, by the plan sent to us by our Gov- 
ernor of Fort St. George, on tht 0th October, 1781, 
that an arrangement is there pro^ osed for the receipt 
of those arrears from the Rajah in three years. 

We are unable to decide how far this proposal may 
be consistent with the present state of the Rajah's re- 
sources ; but wo direct you to use all proper means to 
bring these arrears to account a.s soon as possible, con- 
sistently with a duo attention to this consideration. 

Clacses H. 

You will observe, that, by the 38th section of the 
late act of Parliament, it is enacted, that, for settling 
upon a permanent foundation the present indetermi- 
nate rights of the Nabob of Arcot and the Rajah of 
Tanjore with respect to each other, we should take 
into our immediate consideration the said indetermi- 
nate rights and pretensions, and take and pursue such 
measures as in our judgment and discretion shall bo 
best calculated to ascertain and settle the same, ac- 
cording to the principles and the terms and stipula- 
tions contained in the treaty of 1762 between the 
said Nabob and the said Rajah. 

On a retrospect of the proceedings transmitted to 
us from your Presidency, on the subject of the dis- 
putes which have heretofore arisen between the 
Nabob and the Rajah, we find the following points 
remain unadjusted, viz. 

1st, Whether the jaghire of Arnee shall be enjoyed 
by the Nabob, or delivered up, either to the Rajah, or 
the descendants of Tremaul Row, the late jaghiredar. 

2d, Whether the fort and district of Hauamanta- 


I If If 


1 1. 

I li 


goody, which is admitted hj both parties to be within 
the Marawar, ought to be possessed hy the Nabob, or 
to be delivered up by him to tiio Rujah. 

3rd, To whom the governmeut share of the crop 
of the Tanjore country, of the year 1775 -t>, properly 

Lastly, Whether the Rajah has a right, by usage 
and custom, or ought, from the necessity of the case, 
to bo permitted to repair such part of the Anient, or 
dam and banks of the Cavory, as lie within the dis- 
tnct of Trichinopoly, and to take earth and sand in 
the Trichinopoly territory for the repairs of the dam 
and banks within either or both of those districts. 

In order to obtain a complete knowledge of the 
facts and circumstances relative to the several points 
in dispute, and how fur they are cohuccted with the 
treaty of 1762, wc have with great circumspection 
examined into all the materials before us on those 
subjects, and will proceed to state to you the result 
of our inquiries and deliberations. 

The objects of tlie treaty of 1762 appear to be re- 
stricted to the arrears of tri'ui-fe to be paid to tho 
Nabob for his past claims, and to the quantum of the 
Rajah's future tribute or peshcush ; the cancelling 
of a certain bond given by the Rajah's father to the 
father of tho Nabob ; the confirmation to the Rajah of 
the districts of Coveladdy and Elangaud, and the res- 
toration of Tremaul Row to his jaghire of Arnee, in 
condescension to the Rajah's request, upon certain 
stipulations, viz., that the fort of Arnee and Doby 
Gudy should be retained by the Nabob; that Tre- 
maul Row should not erect any fortress, walled pa- 
goda, or other strongliold, nor any wall round his 
dwellmg-house exceeding eight feet high or two feef 





Uiick, and should iu all things behave himseil' v itli 
duo obedience to t)io guvernment ; iiiid that ho -hould 
pay yearly, in ilio month of July, unto the Nabyb or 
his successors, the ^uni of ten thou>aiid rupees : tho 
Rajah thereby l«comiug tho ; jcurity fur Tromaul 
Row, that he should in all tlungs demean and behave 
himself accordingly, .^ud pay yearly the stipulated 

Upon a review of 'us treaty, the only point now in 
dispute, which appears to us to be so immediately 
connected with it as tu bring it within tlio strict Ihit 
of our duty to ascertain and settle according to the 
terms and stipulations of the treaty, is that respecting 
Arnee. For, although tho other points enumerated 
may in some respects have a relation to that treaty, 
yet, as they are foreign to the purposes expressed in it, 
and could not be in the contemplation of tho contract- 
ing parties at the time of making it, those disputes 
cauuot in our comprehtusion fall witiiiu tho lino of 
description of rights and pretensions to be now ascer- 
tained and settled by us, according to any of the terms 
and stipulations of it. 

In respect to the jaghire of Viuee, wo do not find 
that our records afford us any satisfactory informa- 
tion by what title tho Rajah claims it, or what degree 
of relationship or connection has subsisted between 
the Rajah and tho Killadar of Arnee, save only that 
by the treaty of 17G2 the former becamo ■: -e surety 
for Tremaul Row's performance of his engagements 
specified therein, as tho conditions for his restoration 
to that jaghire ; on the death of Tremaul Row, we 
perceive that ho was succeeded by his widow, and 
after her death, by his grandson Seneewasarow, both 
of whom were admitted to the jaghire by the Nabob. 


1 ,i' 





From your Minutes of Consultation of tlie 31st Oc- 
tober, 1770, and tlie Nabob's letter to the President 
of the 21st Maich, 1771, and the two letters from 
Rajah Beerbur Atchenur Punt (who we presume 
was then the Nabob's manager at Arcot) of the 16th 
and 18th March, referred to in the Nabob's letter, 
and transmitted therewith to the President, we ob- 
Berre, that, previous to the treaty of 1762, Mr. Pigot 
concurred in tlie expediency of the Nabob's taking 
possession of this jaghire, on account of the trouble- 
some and refractory behavior of the Arnee braminees, 
by their affording protection to all disturbers, who, 
by reason of the little distance between Arnee and 
Arcot, fled to the former, and were there protected, 
and not given up, though demanded ; — that, though 
the jaghire was restored in 1762, it was done under 
such conditions and restrictions as were thought best 
calculated to preserve the peace and good order of 
the place and due obedience to government ; — that, 
nevertheless, the braminees (quarrelling among them- 
selves) did afterwards, in express violation of tho 
treaty, enlist ai>d assemble many thousand sepoys, 
and other troops; that they erected gaddios'and' 
other small forts, provided themselves with wall- 
pieces, small guns, and other warlike stores, and 
raised troubles and disturbances in tho neighbor- 
hood of tlie city of Arcot and the forts of Arnee 
and Shaw Gaddy; and that, finally, they impris- 
oned tlie hircarr .hs of the Nabob, sent with his let^ 
ters and instructions, in pursuance of the advice of 
your board, to require certain of the bramhiees to 
lepair to the Nabob at Chepuuk, and, though peremp- 
torily required to rei)air thither, paid no regard to 
those, or to any other orders from tlie ciicar. 




By the 13th article contained in the instructions 
given by the Nabob to Mr. Duprd, as the basis for 
negotiating the treaty made with the Rajah in 1771, 
the Nabob required that the Arnce district should be 
delivered up to the circar, because the braminees had 
broken the conditions which they were to have ob- 
served. In tlie answers given by tlie Rajah to these 
propositions, he sayt, " I am to give up to the circar 
the jaghire district of Arnee " ; and on the 7th of 
November, 1771, the Rajah, by letter to Scueewasa- 
row, who appears by your Consultations and country 
correspondence to have ))een the grandson of Tre- 
maul Row, and to have been put in possession of the 
jaghire at your recommendation, (on the death of his 
grandmother,) writes, acquainting him that he had 
given the Arnee country, then in his (Scneewasa- 
row's) possession, to the Nabob, to whose aumildars 
Seneewasarow tvas to deliver up the possession of the 
country. And in your letter to us of the 28th Feb- 
ruary, 1772, you certified the district of Arnee to be 
one of the countries acquired by this treaty, and to 
be of the estimated value of two lacs of rupees per 

In our orders dated the 12th of April, 177.), wo 
declared our determination to replace the Riyali up- 
on the throne of his ancestors, upon certain terms 
and conditions, to be agreed upon for the mutual 
benefit of himself and the Company, without iul'rhig- 
ing the riglits of the Nabob. We declared that our 
faith stood pledged by the treaty of 1762 to obtain 
payment of the Rajah's tribute to the Nabob, and 
that for the insuring sucli payment the fort of Tan- 
jore should be garrisoned by our troops. We di- 
rected that you should pay no regard to the article 



1 i 

y i\ 




of the treaty of 1771 which respected th<j alienation 
of part of the Rajah's dominions ; and we declared, 
that, if the Nabob had not a just title to those territo- 
ries before the conclusion of the treaty, we denied 
that he obtained any right thereby, except such tem- 
porary sovereignty, for securing the payment of his 
expenses, as is therein mentioned. 

These instructions appear to have been executed 
in the month of April, 1776 ; and by your letter of 
the 14th May following you certified to us that the 
Rajah had been put into the possession of the whole 
country his father held in 1762, when the treaty was 
concluded with the Nabob ; but we do not find that 
you came to any resolution, either antecedent or sub- 
sequent to this advice, either for questioning or im- 
peachmg the right of the Nabob to the sovereignty of 
Arnee, or expressive of any doubt of his title to it. 
Nevertheless, we find, that, although the Board passed 
no such resolution, yet your President, in his letter 
to the Nabob of the 30th July and 24th August, 
called upon his Highness to give up the possession 
of Arnce to the Rajah ; and the Rajah himself, in 
several letters to us, particularly in those of 21st Oc- 
tober, 1776, and the 7th of June, 1777, expressed his 
expectation of our orders for delivering up that fort 
and district to him ; and so recently as tlie 15th of 
Octob. 1783, he reminds us of his former applica- 
tion, i states, that the country of Arnee being 
guarantied to him by the Company, it of course is 
his right, but that it has not been given up to him, 
and he therefore earnestly entreats our orders for 
putting him into the possession of it. We also ob- 
serve by your letter of the 14th of October, 1779, 
that the Rajah liad not then accounted for the Na- 



bob's pesbcush since his restoration, but had assigned 
as a reason for his withdrawing it, that the Nabob 
had retained from him the district of Arnee, with 
a certain other distr.ct, (Hanamantagoody,) which is 
made the subject of another part of our present dis- 

We have thus stated to you the result of our in- 
quiry into the grounds of the dispute relative to Ar- 
nee ; and as the research has ofierod no evidence 
in support of the Rajah's claim, nor even any lights 
whereby we can discover in what degree of relation- 
ship, by consanguinity, caste, or other circumstances, 
the Rajah now stands, or formerly stood, with the 
Killadar of Arnee, or the nature of his connection 
with or command over that district, or the author- 
ity he exercised or assumed previous to the treaty 
of 1771, we should think ourselves highly reprehen- 
sible in complying with the Rajah's request, — and 
the more so, as it is expressly stated, in the treaty 
of 1762, that this fort and district were then in the 
possession of the Nabob, as well as the person of the 
jaghiredar, on account of his disobedience, and were 
restored him by the Nabob, in condescension to the 
Rajah's request, upon such terms and stipulations as 
could not, in our judgment, have been imposed by 
the one or submitted to by the other, if the sover- 
eignty of the one or the dependency of the other 
had been at that time a matter of doubt. 

Although these materials have not furnished us 
with evidence in support of the Rajah's claim, they 
are far from satisfactory to evince the justice of or 
the political necessity for the Nabob's continuing to 
withhold the jajrhire from the descendants of Tremaul 
Row; his heioditary right to that jaghire seems to 




t ) _\ '• 

1 , ! : 1 



I I ; 

> i! 


'^ \ 


US to hare been fully recognized by the stipulations 
of the treaty of 1762, and so little doubted, that, on 
his death, his widow was admitted by the Nabob to 
hold it, on account, as may be presumed, of the non- 
age of his grandson and heir, Seueewasarow, who 
oppears to have been confirmed in the jaghire, on her 
death, by the Nabob, as the lineal heir and successor 
to his grandfather. 

With respect to Seneewasarow, it does not appear, 
by any of the Proceedings in our possession, tliat he 
was concerned in the misconduct of the braminees, 
complained of by the Nabob in the year 1770, which' 
rendered it necessary for his Highness to take the 
jagliire into his own hands, or that he was privy to 
or could liave prevented those disturbances. 

We therefore direct, that, if the heir of Trcmaul 
How is not at present in possession of the jaghire, 
and has not, by any violation of the treaty, or act of 
disobedience, incurred a forfeiture thereof, he be forth- 
wltli restored to the possession of it, according to the 
terms and stipulations of the treaty of 1762. But if 
any powerful motive of regard to the peace and tran- 
quillity of the Carnatic shall in your judgment ren- 
der it expedient io suspend the execution of these 
orders, in tiiat case you are with all convenient speed 
to transmit to us your proceedings thereupon, with 
the full state of the facts, and of tlie reasojis wiiich 
ha -e actuated your conduct. 

We liave before given it as our opinion that the 
stipulations of the treaty of 1762 do not apply to the 
points romainmg to be decided. But the late act of 
Parliament having, from the nature of our connection 
with the two powers in tlio Carnatic, pointod out the 
expediency, and even necessity, of settling tlie several 



matters in dispute between them by a speedy and 
permanent arrangement, we now proceed to give you 
our instructions upon the several other heads of dis- 
putes before enumerated. 

Witli respect to tlie fort and district of Hanaman- 
tagoody, we observe, tiiat, on the restoration of the 
Rajah in 177G, you informed us in your letter of the 
14th of May, "That the Rajah had been put into 
possession of the whole of the country his father held 
in 17G2, when the treaty was concluded with the 
Nabob ; and on the 25th of June you came to the 
resolution of putting the Rajah into possession of 
Hanamantagoody, on the ground of its appearing, on 
reference to the Nabob's instructions to Mr. Duprd in 
June, 1T62, to his reply, and to the Rajah's represen- 
tations of 25th March, 1771, that Ilanamantasoody 
was actually in the hands of the late Rajah at the 
time of making the treaty of 1762. We have re- 
ferred as well to those papers as to all the otlior pro- 
ceedings on this subject, and must confess they fall 
very short of demonstrating to us the triitli of that 
fact. And we find, by the Secret Consultations cf 
Port William of the 7th of August, 1770, tliat the 
same doubt was entertained by our Governor-General 
and Council. 

But whether, in point of fact, the late Rajah was 
or was not in possession of Hanamantagoody in 1762, 
it is notorious tliat the Nabob had always clnimed the 
dominion of the countries of which this fort and dis- 
trict are a part. 

We observe that the Nabob is now in the actual 
possession of this fort and district; and we are not 
warranted, by any document we have seen, to concur 
with the wishes of the Rajah to dispossess him. 







With regard to the goTemment share of the crop of 
1775-6, we observe by the dobeer's memorandum, re- 
cited in your Consultations of the 13th of May, 1776, 
that it was the established custom of the Tanjore' 
country to gather in the harvest and complete the 
collections within the month of March, but that, for 
the causes therein particularly stated, the harvest (and 
of course the collection of tlie government share of 
the crop) was delayed till the month of March was 
over. We also observe tiiat the Rajah was not re- 
stored to his kingdom until the 11th of April, 1776; 
and from hence we infer, that, if the harvest and 
collection had been finished at the usual time, the 
Nabob (being then sovereign of the country) would 
have received the full benefit of that year's crop. 

Although the harvest and colleciion were delayed 
beyond the usual time, yet we find by the Proceedings 
of your government, and particularly by Mr. Mackay's 
Minute of the 29th of May, 1776, and also by the do- 
beer's account, that the greatest part of the grain was 
cut down whilst the Nabob remained in the goveru- 
meut of tlie country. 

It is difficult, from the contradictory allegations on 
the subject, to ascertain what was the precise amount 
of the collections made after the Nabob ceased to have 
the possession of the country. But whatever it was, 
it appears from General Stuart's letter of the 2d of 
April, 1777, that it had been asserted with good an- 
thority that the far greater part of the government 
sliare of the crop was plundered by individuals, and 
never came to account in the Rajah's treasury. 

Under all the circumstances of this case, we must 
be of opinion that the government share of the crop 
of 1776 belonged to the Nabob, as tiie tlien reigning 



sovereign of the kingdom of Tanjore, he being, de 
facto, in the full and absolute possession of the gov- 
ernment thereof; and consequently that the assign- 
ments made by him of the government share of the 
crop were valid. 

Nevertheless, we would by no means be understood 
by this opinion to suggest that any further demands 
ought to be made upon the Rajah, in respect of such 
parts of the government share of the crop as svere 
collected by his people. 

For, on the contrary, after so great a length of timo 
as hath elapsed, we sliould think it highly unjust that 
the Rajah should be now compelled either to pay the 
supposed balances, whatever they may be, or be called 
upon to render a specific account of the collection 
made by his people. 

^ The Rajah has already, in his letter to Governor 
Stratton of the 21st of April, 1777, given his assur- 
ance, tliat the produce of tlie preceding year, ac- 
counted for to him, was little more than one lac of 
pagodas ; and as you have acquainted us, by your let- 
ter of the 14th of October, 1779, that the Rajah has 
actually j>aid hjto our treasury one lac of pagodas, by 
way of deposit, on account of the Nabolj's claims to 
the crop, till our sentiments should be known, we 
direct you to surcease any further demands from the 
Rajah on that account. 

We learn by the Proceedings, and particularly by 
the Nabob's letter to Lord Pigot of the 6th of July, 
1776, that the Nabob, previous to the restoration of 
tl»e Rajah, actually made assignments or granted 
tunkaws of tlie whole of his share of the crop to his 
creditors and troops ; and that your government, (en- 
tertaining the same opinion as we do upon the ques- 

1 ll><l 

vor. jit. 





,1 '/f' 


tion of right to that share,) by letter to the Rajah of 
the 20th of August, 1770, recommended to him " to 
restore to Mr. Bcnfield (one of tlic principal assignees 
or txmkaw-holdcrs o*" the Nabob) the grain of the last 
year, wliich was in possession of his people, and said 
to be forcibly taken from them, — and further, to 
give Mr. Benfield all reasonaVlo assistance in recov- 
ering such debts as should appear to have been justly 
due to bim fnai tlie inhabitants; and acquainted tlie 
Rnjali tbit it liad been judged by a majority of tlie 
Council that it was the Company's intention to let 
the Nal)ob have the produce of the crop of 1770, but 
that you had no intention that the Rajah should be 
accountablj for more than the goveriunent share, 
whatever that might be ; and that you did not mean 
to do more tlian recommend to him to see justice 
done, leaving the manner and time to himself." Sub- 
sequent representations appear to I'.ive been made to 
the Rajah by your government ou the same subject, 
in fUv(jr of the Nabob's mortgages. 

In answer to tliese apidioations, the Rajah, in his 
lettor to Mr. Stratton of the 12th January, 1777, 
acqii^inted you " that lie had given orders respect- 
ing the g'M'ni which Mi-. Bonfield had heajic ] up in 
ins C( muy : and will, vogaid to the money due to 
him by the farmers, that he had desired Mr. Benfield 
to brinj: nccounts of it, tliiit he might limit a time for 
the payment of it proportionably to ;heir ability'', and 
that the necessary orders for stojiping this money out 
of tlie inhabitants' share of the crop had b(>en sent to 
the ryots an*' aniniMars ; that Mr. Benfield's goiuas- 
tah \va^ tho!. piesent there, ?nd oversaw his affairs; 
aud that in eve'-vthin "• that was jiist he (the Rajah) 
willingly obeyed our Jovernor and Council." 



Our opinion being that the Rajah ought to bo an- 
swerable for no more than the amount of what he 
admits Tras collected by his people for the government 
share of the crop ; and tho Proceedings before us not 
sufficiently explaining whether, in the sum which 
tho Riijah, by his before-mentioned Intter of the 21st 
April, 1777, admits to have collected, are included 
those parts of the government share of the crop which 
were taken by his people from Mr. Bcnfield, or from 
any other of the assignees or tunkaw-holders ; and 
uninformed, as we also are, wliat compensation tho 
Rajah has or has not made to Mr. Benfiold, or any 
other of the parties from whom tlie grain was taken 
by the Rajah's people ; or wliether, by means of the 
Rajah's refusal so to do, or from any other circum- 
stance, any of the persons dispossessed of their grain 
may have had recourse to tho Nabob for satisfaction : 
wo arc, for these reasons, incompetent to form a 
proper judgment what disposition ought in justice to 
be made of the one lac of pagodas deposited by the 
Rajah. But as our sentiments and intentions are so 
fully expressed upon tho whole subject, we presume 
you, wiio are upon the spot, can have no doubt or 
difliculty in making such an application of the de- 
posit as will be consistent with those principles of jus- 
tice whoroon our sentiments are founded. But should 
any such difficulty suggest itself, you will suspend 
ai>y application of the deposit, until you have fully 
explained the same to us, and have received our fur- 
ther orders. 

With respect to the repairs of tho Anient and 
banks of the Cavcry we have upon various occasions 
fully expressed to you our sentiments, and in partic- 
ular in our general letter of the 4th July, 1777, wo 



referred you to the investigation and correspondence 
on that subject of the year 1764, and to the report 
made by Mr. Jamos Bourchier, on his personal sur- 
vey of the waters, and to several letters of the year 
1765 and 1767 ; wo also, by our said general letter, 
acquainted you that it appeared to us perfectly rea- 
sonable that the Rajah sliould be permitted to repair 
those banks, and the Anicut, in the same manner as 
had been practised in times past ; and we directed 
you to establish such regulations, by reference to for- 
mer usage, for keeping the said banks in repair, as 
would be effectual, and remove all cause of complaint 
in future. 

Notwitlistanding such our instructions, the Rnjah, 
in his letter to us of the ir,th October, 1783, com- 
plains of the destruction of tlie Anicut ; and as the 
cultivation of the Tanjore country appears, by all the 
surveys and reports of our engineers employed on that 
service, to depend altogether on a supply of water by 
tlie Cavery, whicli can only be secured by keeping 
the Anicut and banks in repair, we tliink it necessary 
to repeat to you our orders of the 4th July, 1777, on 
the subject of those repairs. 

And further, as it appears by the survey and re- 
port of :Mr. Pringlo, tliat those repairs are attended 
with a much heavier expense, when done with mate- 
rials taken from the Tanjore district, tlian with tlioso 
of Trichinopnly, and tliat the last-mentioned materi- 
als are fur preferable to the other, it is our order, 
tliat, if :Miy occurrencos should make it necessary or 
expedient, you apply to the Nabol), in our name, to 
desire that his Highness will permit proper spots of 
ground to be set out, and bounded by proper marks 
on the Trichinopoly side, where tlie Rajah and his 





people may at all times take sand aud earth sufficient 
for these repairs ; and that his Highness will grant 
liis lease of such spots of land for a certain term of 
years to the Company, at a reasonable annual rent, 
to the intent that tlirough you the cultivation of the 
Tanjore country may bo secured, without infringing 
or impairing tho rights of the Nabob. 

If any attempts have been or shall be hereafter 
made to divert the water from the Cavery into tlie 
Coleroon, by contracting the current of tho Upper or 
Lower Cavery, by planting long grass, as mentioned 
in Mr. Pringlo j report, or by any other means, we 
have no doubt h-.s Highness, on a proper representa- 
tion to him in our name, will prevent his pcoi»le from 
taking any measures detrimental to tlie Tanjore coun- 
try, in the prosperity of which his Highness, as well as 
tho Comjjany, is materially interested. 

Should you succeed in reconciling the Nabob to 
this measure, we think it but just that the proposed 
lease shall remain no longer in force than whilst the 
Hajali shall be punctual in the payment of the annual 
peshcush to the Nabob, as well as the rent to be re- 
served for the spots of ground. And in orfler effect- 
ually to remove all future occasions of jealousy and 
complaint between the parties, — that the Riyah, on 
the one hand, may be satisfied that all necessary works 
for the cultivation of his country will be Ciade and 
kept in repair, and mat the Nabob, on the other hand, 
may be .satisfied that no encroachment on his rights 
can be made, nor any works detrimental to the fertil- 
ity of his country erected, — we think it proper that 
it should be recommended to the parties, as a part of 
the adjustment of this very important puint, that skil- 
ful engineers, appointed by the Company, be employed 




J I 

i ' 








|50 *^* 


If Itt 




1.25 i 1.4 




BS". 1653 Eoal Main Street 

SVS Rochester, New York 14609 USA 

■jS (^'6) ♦S^ - OJOO - Phone 

^= (716) 288 - 5989 - Fox 

.M Hi 





at the Rajah's expense to conduct all the necessary 
works, with the strictest attention to the respective 
rights and interests of both parties. This will remove 
every probability of injury or dispute. But should 
eitlier party unexpectedly conceive themselves to bo 
injured, immediate redress mi<,'lit be obtained by ap- 
jtlication to tiie government of Madras, under whose 
appointment the engineer will act, without any dis- 
cussion between tlie parties, wiiicli miglit disturb tiiat 
harmony which it is so much the wish of tlie Com- 
pany to establish and preserve, as essential to the 
prosperity and peace of the Caruatic. 

Having now, in obedience to the directions of the 
act of Parliament, upon th^ fullest consideration of 
the indeterminate rights and pretensions of the Na- 
bob and Rajah, pointed out sucli measures and ar- 
rangements as in our judgment and discretion will 
be best calculated to ascertain and settle the same, 
vre hope, tliat, upon a candid consideration of the 
whole system, althougli eacii of the parties may feel 
disappointed in our decision on particular points, 
tliey will be convinced tiiat wo have been guided in 
our investigation by principles of strict justice and 
impartiality, and that the most anxious attention 
has been paid to the substantial interests of both par- 
ties, and such a general and compreliensive plan of 
arrangement proposed as will most effectually pre- 
vent all future dissatisfaction. 
Approved by the Board. 

Henry Dundas, 


W. W. Gbenville, 

Whitehall, October 27, 1784. 



No. 9. 

Referred to from pp. 78 and 85. 

Extract of a Letter from the Court of Directors to 
the President and C 'ucil of Fort St. George, as 
amended and approved by the Board of Control. 

We have taken into our consideration the several 
advices and papcio received from India, relative to 
the assignment of the revenues of the Carnatic, from 
the conclusion of the Bengal treaty to the date of 
your letter in October, 1783, together with the rep- 
resentations of the Nabob of the Carnatic upon that 
subject; and although we migiit contend that the 
agreement should subsist till we are fully reimbursed 
his Highness's proportion of the expenses of the war, 
yet, from a principle of moderation, and personal at- 
tachment to our old ally, his Highness the Nabob of 
the Carnatic, for whose dignity and happiness we are 
ever solicitous, and to cement more strongly, if pos 
sible, that mutual harmony and confidence which our 
connection makes so essentially necessary for our re- 
ciprocal safety and welfare, and for removing from his 
mind every idea of secret design on our part to lessen his 
authority over the internal governtnent of the Carnatic, 
and the collection and administration of its revenues, 
we have resolved that the assignment shall be surren- 
dered ; and we do accordingly direct our President, in 
whose name the assignment was taken, without delay, 
to surrender the same to his Hichness. But while 
we have adopted this resolution, we repose entire con- 
fidence in his Highness, that, actuated by the same 
motives of li))erality, and feelings of old friendship 





and alliance, ho will cheerfully and instantly accede 
to such arrangements as are necessary to be adopted 
for our common safety, and for preserving the re- 
spect, rights, and interests we enjoy in the Carnatic. 
Tlie following are the heads and principles of sucli an 
arrangement as we are decisively of opinion must be 
adopted for these purposes, viz. 

That, for making a provision for discharging the 
Nabob's just debts to the Company and individuals, 
(for the payment of wliich his Highness has so fre- 
quently expressed the greatest solicitude,) the Nabob 
shall give soucar security for the punctual payment, hy 
instalments, into the Company's treasury, of twelvo 
lacs of pagodas per annum, (as voluntarily proposed 
by his Highness,) until those debts, with interest, sliall 
be discharged ; and shall also consent that the equi- 
table provision lately made by the British legislature 
for the liquidation of those debts, and such resolutions 
and determinations as we shall hereafter make, under 
the authority of that provision for the liquidation and 
adjustment of the said debts, bona fide incurred, shall 
be carried into full force and effect. 

Should any difficulty arise between his Highness 
and our government of Fort St. George, in respect to 
the responsibility of the soucar security, or tlie times 
and terms of the instalments, it is our pleasure that 
you pay obedience to tlie c .ders and resolutions of 
our Governor-General and Council of Bengal in re- 
spect thereto, not doubting but the Nabob will in 
such case consent to abide by the determination of 
our said supreme government. 

Although, from the groat confidence we repose in 
the honor and integrity of the Nabob, and from an 
earnest desire not to subject him to auy em'^arrass- 



xnent ou this occasion, we have not proposed any spe- 
cific assignment of territory or revenue for securing 
the payments aforesaid, we novcrtlieless think it our 
duty, as well to the private creditors, whose interests 
in this respect have been so solemnly intrusted to us 
by the late act of Parliament, as from regard to the 
debt di'e to the Company, to insist on a declaration, 
that, in the event of the failure of the security pro- 
posed, or in default of payment at the stipulated pe- 
riods, we reserve to ourselves full right to demand of 
the Nabob such additional security, by assignment ou 
his country, as shall be effectual for answering the 
purposes of the agreement. 

After havu'.g conciliated the mind of the Nabob to 
this measure, and adjusted the particulars, you are to 
carry the same into execution by a formal deed be- 
tween his Highness and the Company, according to 
the tenor of these instructions. 

As the administration of the British interests and 
connections in India has in some respects assumed a 
new shape by the late act of Parliament, and a gener- 
al peace in India has been happily accomplished, the 
present appears to us to be the proper period, and 
which cannot without great imprudence be omitted, 
to settle and arrange, by a just and equitable treaty, 
a plan for the future defence and protection of the 
Carnatic, both in time of peace and war, on a solid 
and lasting foundation. 

For the accomplishment of this great and necessary 
object, we direct you, in the name of the Company, 
to use your utmost endeavors to impress the expedi- 
ency of, and the good effects to bo derived from, this 
measure, so strongly upon the minds of the Nabob 
and the Eajah of Tanjore, as to prevail upon them. 



:) ; 




jointly or separately, to enter into one or more treaty 
or treaties with tlie Company, grounded on tliis prin- 
ciple of equity : That all tlie contracting parties shall 
be bound to contribute jointly to the support of the 
military force and garrison^, as well in peace as in 

That the military peace establishment shall be 
forthwith settled and adjusted by the Company, in 
pursuance of the authority and directions given to 
them by the late act of Parliament. 

As the payment of the troops and garrisons, occa- 
sional expenses in tiie repairs and improvements of 
fortifications, and other services incidental to a mili- 
tary establishment, must of necessity be punctual and 
accurate, no latitude of personal assurance or recipro- 
cal confidence of either of the parties on the other must 
be accepted or required ; out the Nabob and Rajali 
must of necessity specify particular districts and rev- 
enues for securing the due and regular payment of 
their contributions into the treasury of the Company, 
with whom the charge of the defence of tlie coast, and 
of course the power of the swcrd, must bo exclusive- 
ly intrusted, with power for the Company, in case of 
failure or default of such payments at tlie stipulated 
times and seasons, to enter upon and possess such 
distr? ts, and to let the same to renters, to be con- 
firmed by the Nabob and the Rajah respectively ; but, 
trusting that in the execution of this part of the ar- 
rangement no undue obstruction will be given by 
either of those powers, we direct that this part of 
the treaty be coupled with a most positive assurance, 
on our part, of our determination to support the dig- 
nity and autliority of the Nabob and Rajah in the 
exclusive administration of the civil government and 



revenues of their respective countries ; —and fui ther, 
that, in case of any hostility committed against the 
territories of either of the contracting parties on the 
coast of Coromandel, tlio wliolo revenues of their re- 
spective territories shall be considered as one com- 
mon stock, to be appropriated in the common cause 
of their defence ; that the Company, on their part, 
shall engage to refrain, durimj the war, from tlio ap- 
plication of any part of their revenues to any commer- 
cial purposes whatsoever, but apply the whole, save 
only the ordinary charges of thoir civil government, 
to the purposes of the war ; that the Nabob and the 
Rajah shall in like manner engage, on their parts, to 
refrain, during the war, from tl-.e application of any 
part of their revenues, save only what shall be actu- 
ally necessary for the suppoi-t of themselves and tlie 
civil government of their respective countries, to any 
other purposes than that of defraying the expenses of 
such military operations as the Company may S- 
necessary to carry on for the common safety o. ..r 
interests on the coast of Coromandel. 

A.nd to obviate any difficulties or misunderstand- 
ing which might arise from leaving ind>)terminaie 
the sum necessary to be appropriated for the civil 
establishment of each of the respective powers, that 
the sum be now ascertained which is ii.dispensably 
necessary to be applied to those purposes, and which 
is to bo held sacred under -/ary emergency, and set 
apart previous to the application of tlie rest of tiie 
revenues, as hereby stipulated, for the purposes of 
mutual or common defence against any enemy, for 
clearing the incumbrance which may have become 
necessarily incurred in addition to the expenditure 
of thosj revenues which must be always deemed part 




of the war establishment. This we think absolutclj 
necessary ; as nothing can tend so much to the pres- 
ervation of peace, and to prevent the renewal of hos- 
tilities, as the early putting the finances of the several 
powers upon a clear footing, aud the showing to all 
other powers that the Company, the Nabob, and the 
Rajali are firmly united in one common cause, and 
combined in one system of permanent and vigorous 
defence, for the preservation of their respective terri- 
tories and the general tranquillity. 

That the whole ag^^rcgate revenue of the contract- 
ing parties shall, during the war, be under the appli- 
cation of the Company, and shall continue as long 
after the war as shall be necessary, to discharge the 
burdens contracted by it; but it must be declared 
that this provision shall in no respect extend to de- 
prive either the Nabob or the Rajah of the substantial 
authority necessary to the collection of the revenues 
of their respective countries. But it is meant that 
they shall faithfully perform the conditions of this 
arrangement ; and if a division of any part of the 
revenues to any other than the stipulated purposes 
shall take place, the Company shall be entitled to 
take upon themselves the collection of the revenue. 

The Company are to engage, during the time they 
shall administer the revenues, to produce to tlio other 
contracting parties regular accounts of the applica- 
tion thereof to the purposes stipulated by the treaty, 
and faithfully apply them in support of tlie war. 

And, lastly, as the defence of the Carnatic is thus 
to rest witli the Company, the Nabob shall be satisfied 
of the propriety of avoiding all unnecessary expense, 
aud will therelore agree not to maintain a greater 
niunber of troops than shall be necessary for the sup 




port of his dignity and the splendor of the durbar, 
which number shall be specified in the treaty; and 
if any military aid is requisite for the security and 
collection of his revenues, other than the fixed estab- 
lishment employed to enforce the ordinary collections 
and preserve the police of the country, the Company 
must be bound to furnish him with such aid: the 
Rajah of Tanjore must likewise become bound by 
similar engagements, and bo entitleu to similar aid. 

As, in virtue of the powers vested in Lord Macart- 
ney bv the agreement of December, 1781, sundry 
> • various periods, have been granted to rent- 

direct thL\t you apply to the Nabob, in our 
)r his consent tliat they may bo permitted to 
their ' ases to the end of the stipulated term; 
and we have great reliance* on the liberality and 
spirit of accommodation manifested by the Nabob on 
so many occasions, that he will bo disposed to acqui- 
esce in a proposition so Just mid reasonable. But if, 
contrary to our expectations, his Highness should 
bo impressed with any particular aversion to comply 
with this proposition, we do not desire you to insist 
upon it as an essential part of the arrangement to 
take place between us ; but, in that event, you must 
take especial care to give such indemnification to the 
renters for any loss they may sustain as you judgo 
to be reasonable. 

It equally concerns the honor of our government, 
that such natives as may have been put in any degree 
of authority over the collections, in consequence of 
the deed of assignment, and who liave proved faithful 

• For the ground of this " great reliance," see the papers in this 
Appendix, No. 5 ; as also the Nabob's letters to the Court of Direc- 
tors in this Appendix, No. 10. 







to their trust, shall not suffer inconvenience on ac- 
count of ..heir fidelity. 

Having tlius given r-r sentiments at large, as well 
for the surrender of the assignment n with rc,|ard 
to those arraiigcraents which we think necessary to 
adopt in consequence thereof, we cannot dismiss this 
subject without expressing our hif^hest approbation 
of the ability, moderation, and command of temper with 
wliich our President at Madras has conducted himself 
in the management of a very delicate and embarrass- 
ing situation. His conduct, and that of the Select 
Committee of Fort St. George, in the execution of the 
trust delegated to Lord Macartney by the Nabob Ma- 
homed Ali, has been vigorous and effectual, for the 
purpose of realizing as great a revenue, at a crisis of 
necessity, as tlie nature of the case admitted ; and the 
imputation of corruption, suggested in some of the 
Proceedings, appears to be totally groundless and un- 

While we find so much to applaud, it is with re- 
gret we are induced to advert to anything whicli may 
appear worthy of blame : as the step of issuing the 
Torana Chits in Lord Macartney's own name can 
only be justified upon the ground of absolute neces- 
sity ; * and as his Lordship had every reason to believe 

* For the full proof of this necessity, Lord Macartney's whole cor- 
respondence on the subject may be referred to. Without the act here 
condemned, not one of the acts commended in the prcccdin.- para- 
praph could bo performed. By referring to the Nabob's le«ers in 
this Appendix it will be seen what sort of task a povemor ha* on his 
hands, who is to use. according to the direction of this letter, "acts 
of address, civility, and conciliation," and to pav, upon all occasions. 
the h,ghest attention, to persons who at the very time are falsely, and 
in the grossest terms, accusing him of peculation, corruption, treason, 
and every species of malversation in office. The rr .mmendation, 

■' 5 ,■' 

I' I 



that the demand, wlicn made, would be irksome and 
diRagrccablo to ilio feelings of Malioniod Ali, every 
precaution ouglit to have been used and more time 
allowed for proving that necessity, by previous acts 
of address, civility, and conciliation, applied for the 
purposes of obtaining bis authority to such a meas- 
ure. It appears to us that more of this might have 
been used ; and therefore we cannot consider the 
omission of it as blameless, consistent with our wif^h- 
es of sanctifying no act contrary to the spirit of the 
agreement, or derogatory to the autiiority of the Na- 
bob ' Carnatic, in the exercise of any of his 
just rig..ts in the government of the people under 
his authority. 

We likewise observe, the Nabob has complained 
that no official communication was made to liim of 
the peace, for near a month after the cessation of 
arms took place. This, and every other mark of dis- 
respect to the Nabob, will ever appear highly rep- 
rehensible in our eyes ; and we direct thr't you do, 
upon all occasions, pay the highest attention to him 
and his family. 

Lord Macartney, in his Minute of the 9th of Sep- 
tember last, hr;S boon fully u der our consideration. 
We shall ever ajiplaud the prudence and foresight of 
our servants which induces them to collect and com- 
municate to us every opinion, or even ground of stic- 
picion they may entertain, relative to any of the 
powers in India with wlio?e conduct our interest 
and the safety of our settlements is essentially con- 
nected. At the same time we earnestly recommend 
that those opinions and speculations be communicated 

under menaces of such behavior, and nnder such circamstances, con- 
veys a. lesson the tendency of which cannot be misunderstood. 

i ( ' 



to US witli prudence, discretion, and all possible score, 
cy, and the term$ in which they are conveyed he ex- 
premed in a manner a» little offmtive a» pomble to the 
poic •• whom they may concern and into whose handt 
they may fall* 

We next proceed to give you our sentiments re- 
specting the private debts of the Nabob ; and we can- 
not but acknowledge that the origin and justice, both 
of the loan of 1767, and the loan of 1777, commonly 
called the Cavalry Loan, appear to us clear and indis- 
putable, agreeable to the true sense and spirit of the 
late act of Parliament. 

In speaking of the loan of 1767, we are to be un- 
derstood us speaking of the debt as constituted by the 
orignial bonds of that year, bearing interest at 10/. per 
cent; and therefore, if any of the Nabob's creditors, 
under a pretence that their debts made part of the 
consolidated debt of 1767, although secured by bonds 
of a subsequent date, carrying an interest exceeding 
m per cent, shall claim Iho ' .nefit of the following 
orders, we direct that yo. ^ay no regard to such 
claims, without further esponal instructions for that 

With respect to the consolidated debt of 1777, it 

• The dolicary here recommended, in the eTprem<m, concernine 
conduct ..with which the s.,fety of onr settlements is essentially con 
nected, ,s a lesson of the same nature with the former. Dangerous 
rtes.gns, .f truly such, ought to be expressed according to their nature 
and quaht.cs. And ns for the .ecnaj recommended concerning the 
designs here alluded to, nothing can be more absurd • as they appear 
very fully and directly in the papers published by the authority of 
the Court of Directors in 1775. and may be easily discerned from the 
propositions for the Bengal treaty, published in the R,,-orts of the 
Committee of Secrecy, and in the Reports of the Select Committee. 
Ihe keeping of snch secrets too long has been one cause of the Car- 
natic war. and of the ruin of our affairs in India. 



cor auily stands upon . 'ess favorable footing. So 

1.0, President and Council of Fort St. George, that 
lor the pr-vent„,g all persons living under tlu, Com- 
pany « protection from having a„/dealings with a™ 

knotir "^ ^^''' '' ''"''• "'"'^^°'-« ^''"'-'t the 

shouTl hf '\TrT?^ '''' ^^^'•^' '^'^ "Advertisement 
should be published, by fixing it up at the sot-gate 

and sending round a copy to the Company's serSt 

and ;:;'"•''' "^' ^ *'" ^•'^^-»' slrdina" 
and our garrisons, ani giving it out in neral or 

dors, stating therein that the President and Co no 

did consider the irreversible order of the Court of p! 

rec ors of the year 1714 (whereby their peonic .ver« 

prohibited from having any dealings . >h the Jo, I 

governments in money matters) to ia'fnll tor;e 

vantsTt'hrr"""'^ ^-^P^^^^^'^ ^^^^'^^'"^ ^» -- 
vants of the Company, and otlier Europeans under 

their jurisdiction, to make loans or have'^ny ZZ 
transactions with any of the princes or states inl^^S^ 
without special license and permission of the Pre i! 
de^it and Council for the time being, except only 1 
the particular cases there mentioned and doclS,^ 
breS :?^"!,^-^«- ^»A-from sh;uld be dee3 

■1th of March. 1778, it was resolved by our Pro!idc t 
and Councl of Fort St P- -nr^ ^i /.i ''^"'^cnt 

ed debt of 1777 was n ,^.' ''" 'onMaU 

"I i(M was 11'., 1 any respect whatovpr 

conducted under the auspices or^^rotLtioi^ of S 

government; and on the circumsLco of the ou 

«olida ion of the said debt being made know to us 

in he following terms: "Your account of the Na 
bob s private debts i^very alarming; but from wlfat 






ever cause or causes those debts hare been contracted 
or increased, we hereby repeat our orders, that the 
sanction of the Company be on no account given to 
any kind of secu' :ty for the payment or liquidation 
of any part thereof, (except by the express authority 
of the Court of Directors,) on any account or pretence 

The loan of 1777, therefore, has no sanction or 
authority from us ; and in considering the situation 
and circumstances of this loan, we cannot omit to ob- 
serve, that the creditors could not be ignorant how 
greatly the affairs of the Nabob were at that time de- 
ranged, and that his debt to the Company was then 
very considerable, — the payment of which the parties 
took the most effectual means to postpone, by procur- 
ing an assignment of such specific revenues for the 
discharge of their own debts as alone could have 
enabled the Nabob to have discharged that of the 

Under all these circumstances, we should be war- 
ranted to refuse our aid or protection in the recovery 
of this loan. But when we consider the inexpediency 
of keeping the subject of the Nabob's debts longer 
afloat than is absolutely necessary, — when we con- 
sider how much tlie final conclusion of this business 
will tend to promote tranquillity, credit, and circula- 
tion of property in the Carnatic, — and when we con- 
sider that the debtor concurs with the creditor in es- 
tablishing the justice of those debts consolidated in 
1777 into gross sums, for which bonds were given, lia- 
ble to be transferred to persons different from the orig- 
inal creditors, and having no share or knowledge of 
the transactions in which the debts originated, and of 
course how little ground there is to expect any substan- 



tial good to result from an unlimited investigation into 

which uln '' V^''""^ *" '^'"^ «'^* P'-otection 
caiise to allow to the other two classes of debts But 

tneir lavor as to admit them to a particination in ti,« 
manner hereafter directed, we do LTmea„ to deba 
you ro™ recemng any complaints against thoi deb 

or of.!; *'^^\"^*^"'^« «it'»«'- of tlie xVabob himself, 
or of other creditors injured hy their being so admt 
ted or by any other persons having a proper interne 
or statmg reasonable grounds of objectLr. ; and f any 
complaints are offered, we order that the grounds "f 
m tt^f to J^^^^^^^ ^^^™-^ 'y ^-' an" be tr nl 

sTnlorf nf ; ^^ ^' ""^"^ "'° '^^'^'' adduced in 
support of tl^m, for our final decision; and as we 

pa. das :: b""*°' "f *'^« ^""^ '' *-J- 1- of 
should b^ 1-^ r'^"'*^ '^"""^"^ ^^°°^ «^« Nabob, 
the ame Pf^^/oonr treasury, it is our order tha 

^^ the debt be made up in the following man- 

The debt consolidated in 1767 to be made up to the 
end ome year 1784, with the current intere:^ 

od'^whi?r^''^ ^°'" *" ^' '"^^^ "P '^ '^' ^^^^ Peri- 

rlf/u! '"'''"* ''''''''' ^' *^^I^« P«r cent. 
tb« 1 oonsolidated in 1777 to be made up to 

the same period, with the current interest at twelve 
per cent, to November, 1781, and from tiience w Ih 
the current interest at six per cent. 

belpJlLt" '" ""'''' '"^ '' ""^^^' ^^« *^- ^« 

(J " I 






1. To the growing interest on the Cavalry Loan, at 
twelve per cent. 

2. To the growing interest on the debt of 1777, at 
six per cent. 

The remainder to be equally divided : one half to 
be applied to the extinction of the Company's debt ; 
tlie other half to bo applied to the payment of grow- 
ing interest at lOZ. per cent, and towards the dis- 
charge of the principal of the debt of 1767. 

This arrangement to continue till the principal of 
the uebt 1767 is discharged. 
The application of the twelve lacs is, then, to be, - 
1. To the interest of the debt of 1777, as above. 
The remainder to be then equally divided, — one half 
towards the discharge of the current interest and 
principal of the Cavalry Loan, and the other half 
towards the discharge of the Company's debt. 

When the Cavalry Loan shall be thus discharged, 
there shall then bo paid towards the discharge of the 
Company's debt seven lacs. 

To the growing interest and capital of the 1777 
loan, five lacs. 

When the Company's debt shall be discharged, 
the whole is then to be applied in discharge of the 
debt 1777. 

If the Nabob shall be prevailed upon to apply the 
arrears and growing payments of the Tanjore pesh- 
cush in further discharge of his debts, over and above 
the twelve lacs of pagodas, wo direct that the whole 
of that payment, when made, shall be applied to- 
wards the reduction of th: Company's debt. 

We have laid down these general rules of distribu- 
tion, as appearing to us founded on justice, and the 
relative circumstances of the different debts; and 



therefore we give our authority and protection to 
them only on the supposition that they who ask our 
protection acquiesce in the condition upon which it is 
given ; and therefore we expressly order, that, if any 
creditor of the Nabob, a servant of the Company, or 
being under our protection, shall refuse to ex[)res8 
his acquiescence in these arrangements, he bhall not 
only be excluded from receiving any share of the 
fund under your distribution, but shall be proliibited 
from taking any separate measures to recover liis 
debt from the Nabob : it being one great inducement 
to our adopting this arrangement, that the Nabob 
shall be relieved from all further disquietude by the 
importunities of his individual creditors, and be left 
at liberty to pursue those measures for the prosperity 
of his country which the embarrassments of his sit- 
uation have hitherto deprived him of the means of 
exerting. And we further direct, that, if any cred- 
itor shall be found refractory, or disposed to disturb 
the arrangement we have suggested, he shall be dis- 
missed the service, and sent homo to England. 

The directions we have given only apply to the 
three classes of debts which have come under our 
observation. It has been surmised that the Nabob 
has of late contracted further debts : if any of these 
are due to British subjects, we forbid any counte- 
nance or protection whatever to be given to them, 
until the debt is fully investigated, the nature of it 
reported home, and our special instructions upon it 

We cannot conclude this subject without advert- 
ing in the strongest terms to the prohibitions which 
have from time to time issued under tlie authority of 
different Courts of Directors against any of our ser- 

i" » -I 





vants, or of those under our protection, having any 
money transactions with any of the countrj powers, 
without the knowledge and previous consent of our 
respective governments abroad. "We are liappy to find 
that the Nabob, sensible of the great embarrassments, 
both to his own and the Company's affairs, which the 
enoi'mous amount of their private claims have occa- 
sioned, is willing to engage not to incur any new 
debts with individuals, and we think little difficulty 
will be found in persuading his Highness into a posi- 
tive stipulation for that purpose. And though the le- 
gislature has thus humanely interfered in behalf of 
such individuals as might otherwise have been re- 
duced to great distress by the past transactions, we 
hereby, in the most pointed and positive terms, repeat 
our prohibition upoii this subject, and direct that no 
person, being a servant of the Company, or being un- 
der our protection, shall, on any pretence whatever, 
be concerned in any loan or other money transaction 
with any of the coimtry powers, unless witli tlio 
knowledge and express permission of our respective 
goverimients. And if any of our servants, or others, 
being under our protection, shall be discovered in 
any respect counteracting these orders, we strictly 
enjoin you to take the first opportunity of sending 
them home to England, to be punished as guilty of 
di:"bedience of orders, and no protection or assist- 
ance of the Company shall be given for the recov- 
ery of any loans connected with such transactions. 
Your particular attention to this subject is strictly 
enjoined ; and any connivance on your parts to a 
breach of our orders upon it will incur our highest 

In order to put an end to those intrigues which 




have been so successfully carried on at the J^^abob's 
durbar, wo repeat our prohibition in the strongest 
terms respecting any intercourse between British 
subjects and the Nabob and his iiimily; as we are 
convinced that such an intercourse has been carried 
on greatly to the detriment and expense of the Na- 
bob> and merely to the advantage of individuals. 
We therefore direct that all persons who shall of- 
fend against the letter and spirit of this necessary 
order, whether in the Company's service or under 
their protectiouj be forth^'th sent to England. 
Approved by the Board. 

Henbt Dundas, 


W. W. Gbenville, 

Whitbhaix, 15th Oct., 1784. 

Extract from the Representation of the Court of Direc- 
tors of the East India Company. 

My Lohds and Gentlemen, — 

It is with extreme concern that we express a dif- 
ference of opinion with your right honorable board, 
ia this early exercise of your controlling power ; but 
wi so novel an institution, it can scarce be thought 
extraordinary, if the exact boundaries of our respec- 
tive functions and duties should not at once, on ei 
ther side, be precisely and familiarly understood, an^ 
theretore confide in your justice and candor for be- 
lievuig that we have no wish to invade or frustrate 
the salutary purposes of your institution, as we on 
our part aro thoroughly satisfied that you have no 
wish to encroach on the legal powers of the East In- 




i 1. 



dia Company. We shall proceed to state .r objec- 
tions to such of the amendments as appear to us to 
be either insufficient, iiiexpediout, or unwarranted. 

6th. Concerning the private debts of the Nabob of 
Arcot, and the application of the fund of twelve 
lacs of pagodas per annum. 

Under this head you are pleased, in lieu of our 
paragraphs, to substantiate at once the justice of all 
tliose demands which the act requires us to investi- 
gate, subject only to a right reserved to the Nabob, 
or any other party concerned, to question the justice 
of any debt falling within the last of the three classes, 
"We submit, that at least the opportunity of question- 
ing, within the limited time, the justice of any of the 
debts, ought to have been fully preserved ; and sup- 
posing the first ard second classes to stand free from 
imputation, (as we incline to believe they do,) no in- 
jury can result to individuals from such discussion : 
and we further submit to your consideration, how far 
the express direction of the act to examine the na- 
ture and origin of the debts has been by the amended 
paragraphs complied with ; and whether at least the 
rate of interest, according to which the debts arising 
from soucar assignment of the land-revenues to the 
servants of the Company, acting in the capacity of 
native bankers, have been accumulated, ought not 
to be inquired into, as well as the reasonableness of 
the deduction of twenty-five per cent wliich the Ben- 
gal government directed to be made from a great 
part of the debts on certain conditions. But to your 
appropriation of the fund our duty requires that we 
should state our strongest dissent. Our right to be 
paid the arrears of those expenses by which, almost 




to our own ruin, we have preserved the country and 
all tlie property connected with it from falling a prey 
to a foreign conqueror, surely stands paramount to 
all claims for former debts upon the icvenues of a 
country so preserved, even if the legislature had not 
expressly limited the assistance to be given the pri- 
vate creditors to be such as shr Jd be consistent witl 
our own rights. Tlio Nabob had, long before passing 
the act, by treaty with our Bengal government, agreed 
to pay us seven lacs of pagodas, as part jf the twelve 
lacs, in liquidation of those arrears ; of which seven 
lacs the arrangement you have been pleased to lay 
down would take away from us more than tlie half, 
and give it to private creditors, of whose demands 
there are only about a sixth part which do not stand 
in u predicament tliat you declare would not entitle 
them to any aid or protection from us in the recovery 
thereof, were it not upon grounds of expediency, as 
will more particularly appear by the annexed esti- 
mate. Until our debt shall be disclia^oCd, we can 
by no means consent to give up any part of the seven 
lacs to the private creditors ; and we humbly appre- 
hend that in this declaration we do not exceed the 
limits of the authority and rights vested in us 

The Right Honorable the Commissionebs fob the 
Affairs of India. 

The Representation of the Court of Directors of the 
East India Company. 

My LoRDrj and Gentlbjien, — 

The Court, having duly attended to your reasonings 
and decisions on the subjects of Arnee and Hanaman- 







tagoody, beg leave to observe, with dud deference to 
your judgment, that the directions we bad given in 
these paragraphs which did not obtain your approba- 
tion still appear to us to have been consistent with 
justice, and agreeable to the late act of Parliament, 
which pointed out to us, aa we apprehended, the 
treaty of 1762 as our guide. 

Signed by order of the said Court, 

Tho. Mobton, See. 

Eabt India Hoou, the 3rd November, 1784. 

Hctract qf a Letter from the Commissionera for the Af- 
fair» of India to the Court of Directors, dated Srd 
November, 1784, in Answer to their Remonstrance. 

Sixth Abticli. 

We think it proper, considering the particular na- 
ture of the subject, to state to you the following 
remarks on that part of your representation which 
relates to the plan for the discharging of the Nabob's 

1st. You compute the revenue which the Carnatic 
may be expected to produce only at twenty lacs of 
pagodas. If we concurred with you in this opinion, 
we should certainly feel our hopes of advantage tc all 
the parties from this arrangement considerably dimin- 
ished. But we trust that we are not too sanguine on 
this head, when we place the greatest reliance on the 
estimate transmitted to you by your President of 
Fort St. George, having there the best means of 
information upon tho fact, and stating it with a par- 
ticular view to the subject matter of these paragraphs. 
Some allowance, we are sensible, must be made for 
the difference of collection in the Nabob's hands, but, 





we trust, not such as to reduce the receipt nearly to 
what you suppose. 

2iidl7. In making up the amount of the private 
debts, you take in compound interest at tiie different 
rates specified in our paragraph. This it was not our 
intention to allow ; and lest any misconception should 
arise on the spot, we have added an express direction 
that the debts be made up with simple interest on- 
ly, from the time of their respective consolidation. 
Clause F f. 

8rdly. "We have also the strongest grounds to be- 
lieve that the debts will be in other respects consid- 
erably less than they are now computed by you ; and 
consequently, the Company's annual proportion of 
the twelve lacs will be larger than it appears on your 
estimate. But even on your own statement of it, if 
we add to the 150,OO0Z., or 3,75,000 pagodas, (which 
you take as the annual proportion to be received by 
the Company for five years to the end of 1789,) the 
annual amount of the Tanjore peshcush for the same 
period, and the arrears on the peshcush, (proposed by 
Lox'd Macartney to be received in three years,) the 
whole will make a sum not falling very short of pa- 
godas 35,00,000, the amount of pagodas 7,00,000 per 
annum for the same period. And if we carry our cal- 
culations farther, it will appear, that, both by the plan 
proposed by the Nabob and adopted in your para 
graphs, and by that which we transmitted to you, the 
debt from the Nabob, if taken at 3,000,000^., will be 
discharged nearly at the same period, viz., in the 
course of the eleventh year. We cannot, therefore, be 
of opinion that there is the smallest ground for object- 
ing to this arrangement, as injurious to the interests 
of the Company, even if the measure were to be con- 






ft 1 





sidered on the more ground of expediency, and with 
a Tiew only to the wisdom of reestablishing credit 
and circulation in a commercial settlement, without 
any consideration of those motives of attention to the 
feelings and honor of the Nabob, of humanity to in- 
dividuals, and of justice to persons in your service 
and living under your protection, which have actu- 
ated the legislature, and which afford not only justi- 
fiable, but commendable grounds for your conduct. 

Impressed with this conviction, we have not made 
any alteration in the general outlines of the arrange- 
meiut which we had before transmitted to you But, 
as the amount of the Nabob's revenue is matter of 
uncertain conjecture, and as it does uot appear just 
to us that any deBcioncy should fall wholly on any 
one class of tliese debts, we have added a direction to 
your government of Fort St. George, that, if, i otwith- 
standing the provisions contained in our former par- 
agraphs, any deficiency should arise, the payments 
of what shall be received shall be made in the same 
proportion which would have obtained in the division 
of the whole twelve lacs, had they been paid. 


No. 10. 

Referred to from p. 103. 

[ The following extracts are subjoined, to show the 
matter and the style of representation employed by 
those who have obtained that ascendency over the 
Nabob of Arcot which is described in the letter 
marked No. 6 of the present Appendix, and which 



is so totallj dostructive of the authority and credit 
of the lawful British goTemmont at Madras. Tlie 
charges made by these persons hare been solemnly 
denied by Lord Macartney ; and to judge from the 
character of the parties accused and accusing, they 
are probably void of all foundation. But as the let- 
ters are in the name and under the signature of a 
person of great rank and consequence among the 
natives, — as they contain matter of the most serious 
nature, — as they charge the most enormous crimes, 
and corruptions of the grossest kind, on a British 
governor, — and as they refer to the Nabob's minister 
in Great Britain for proof and further elucidutiou 
of the matters complained of, — common decency 
and common policy demanded an inquiry into their 
truth or falsehood. The writing is obviously the 
product ot time English pen. If, on inquiry, these 
charges shouM be made good, (a thing very unlike • 
ly,) the party accused would become a just object of 
animadversion. If they should bo found (as in all 
probability they would be found) false and calum- 
nious, aud supported by forgery^ then the censure 
would fall on the accuser ; at the same time the ne- 
cessity would be manifest for proper measures towards 
the security of government against such infamous ac- 
cusations. It is as necessary to protect the honest 
fame of virtuous governors as it is to ' "'■ the 
corrupt and tyrannical. But neither i .-t of 

Directors nor the Board of Control ha\ .ade any 
inquiry into tlie truth or falsehood of these charges. 
Tiiey have covered over the accusers and accused 
with abundance of compliments ; tliey have insinu- 
ated some oblique censures ; and they have recom- 
mended perfect harmony between the chargers of 



corruption and peculation and the pArsons charged 
with these oriaes.J 

18th October, 1782. Extract of a Trantlcdion of a 
Letter f m the Nabob of Arcot to the Chairman qf 
the Court of Direetort of the £att India Company 

Fatally for me, and for the public interest, the 
Company's favor and my unbounded confidence have 
been lavished on a man totally unfit for the exalted 
station in which ho has ocon placed, and unworthy of 
tiie trusts that have been reposed in him. When I 
speak of one who has so deeply stabbed my honor, 
my wounds bleed afresh, and I must be allowed that 
freedom of expression which the galling reflection of 
my injuries and my misfortunes naturally draws from 
me. Shall your servants, unchecked, unrestrained, 
and unpunished, gratify their private views and am- 
bition at the expense of my honor, my peace, and my 
happiness, and to the ruin of my country, as well as 
of all your affairs ? No sooner had Lord Macartney 
obtained the favorite object of his ambition than ho 
betrayed the greatest insolence towards me, the most 
glaring neglect of the common civilities and atten- 
tions paid me by all former governors in the worst 
of times, and even by the most inveterate of my 
enemies. He insulted my servants, endeavored to 
defame my character by unjustly censuruig my ad- 
ministration, .J extended his boundless usurpation 
to the whole government of my domuiions, in all the 
branches of judicature and police ; and, in violation 
of the express articles of the agreements, proceeded 
to send renters into the countries, unapproved of by 
me, men of bad character, and unequal to my man- 



agement or responsibility. Though ho is chargeable 
with the greatest nets of cruelty, even to the shed- 
ding the blood and cutting off the noses and cars of 
my Biibjccts, by those exercising his authority in the 
countries, and that even the duties of religion and 
public worship have been interrupted or prevented, 
and though ho carries on all his business by the ar- 
bitrary exertion of military force, yet docs lie not col- 
lect from tlio countries one fourtli of the revenue that 
should be produced. The statement ho pretciuls to 
hold forth of expected revenue is totally fiil!u.3ious, 
and can never bo realized under tlio management of 
his Lordship, in the appointment of rentois totally 
disqualified, rapacious, and irresponsible, who are 
actually embezzling and dissipating the public reve- 
nues tliat should assist in the support of tlio war. 
Totally occupied by his private views, and governed 
by his passions, ho has neglected . r sacrificed all the 
essential objects of public good, and by want of coop- 
oration with Sir Eyre Cooto, and refusal to furnish 
the ariiiy with the necessary supplies, has rendered 
the glorious and repeated victories of the gallant 
general inefToctual to tlie expulsion of our cruel en- 
emy. To cover his insufficiency, and veil the dis- 
credit attendant on his failure in every measure, iie 
tlirows out the most illiberal expressions, and insti- 
tutes unjust accusations against me ; and in aggra- 
vation of all the distresses imposed upon me, he has 
abetted the meanest calumniators to bring forward 
false charges against me and my son, Amir-ul-Ona- 
rah, in order to create embarrassment, and for the 
distress of my mind. My papers and writings sent 
to you must testify to the whole world the malevo- 
lence of his designs, and the means that have been 






'X 1 1 

*»' 'i 

used to forward tlicm. He has violently seized and 
opened all letters addressed to rao and my servants, 
on my public and private affairs. My vackcel, that 
attended hira according to ancient custom, has been 
ignominiously dismissed from his presence, and not 
suffered to approach the Government-House. He has 
in the meanest manner, and as he thought in secret, 
been tampering and intriguing with my family and 
relations for the worst of purposes. And if I express 
the agonies of my muid under these most pointed in- 
juries and oppressions, and complain of the violence 
and injustice of Lord Macartney, I am insulted by his 
affected construction that my communications are dic- 
tated by the insinuations of others, at the same time 
that liis conscious apprehensions for liis misconduct 
have produced the most abject applications to me 
to smother ray feelings, and entreaties to write in 
his Lordship's favor to England, and to submit all my 
affairs to his direction. When his submissions have 
failed to mould me to his will, he has endeavored to 
effect his purposes by menaces of his secret influence 
with those in power in England, which he pretends 
to assert shall be effectual to confirm liis usurpation, 
and to deprive me, and my family, in succession, of 
my rights of sovereignty and government forever. 
To such a length have his passions and violences car- 
ried him, that all my family, my dependants, and 
even my friends and visitors, arc persecuted with the 
strongest marks of his displeasxxre. Every shadow of 
athority in my person is taken from me, and respect 
to my name discouraged throughout the whole coun- 
try. When an officer of higli rank in his Majesty's 
service was some time since introduced to me by 
Lord Macartney, his Lordship took occasion to show 



a personal derision and contempt of me. Mr. Rich- 
ard Sulivan, who has attended my durbar under the 
commission of the Governor-General and Council of 
Bengal, has experienced his resentment ; and Mr. 
Benfield, with whom I have no business, and who, as 
ho lias been accustomed to do for many years, has 
continued to pay me his visits of respect, has felt the 
weight of his Lordship's displeasure, and has had ev- 
ery unmerited insinuation thrown out against him, 
to prejudice him, and deter him from paying me his 
compliments as usual. 

Tlius, Gentlemen, have you delivered me over to 
a stranger ; to a man unacquainted with government 
and business, and too opinionated to learn ; to a man 
whose ignorance and prejudices operate to the neglect 
of every good measure, or the liberal cooperation with 
any that wish well to the public interests ; to a man 
who, to pursue his own passions, plans, and designs, 
will certainly ruin all mine, as well as the Com- 
pany's affairs. His mismanagement and obstinacy 
have caused the loss of many lacs of my revenues, 
dissipated and embezzled, and every public consider- 
ation sacrificed to his vanity and private views. I 
beg to otter an instance in proof of my assertions, and 
to jut-tify the hope I have that you will cause to 
be made good to me all the losses I have sustained 
by the maladministration and bad practices of your 
servants, according to all tlie account of receipts of 
former years, and which I made known to Lord Ma- 
cartney, amongst other papers of information, in the 
beginning of his management in the collections. The 
district of Ongole produced annually, upon a medium 
of many years, 90,000 pagodas; but Lord Macart- 
ney, vpon receiving a sum of money from Ramehun' 

VOL. 111. la 




' I - 


ii j 










dry,* let it out to him, in April last, for the inade- 
quate rent of 50,000 pagodas per annum, diminishing, 
in this district alone, near half the accustomed reve- 
nues. After this manner hath he exercised his pow- 
ers over the countries, to suit his own purposes and 
designs ; and this secret mode has he taken to reduce 
the collections. 

1st November, 1782. Copy of a Letter from the Nabob 
of Arcot to the Court of Directors, ^c. Received 
7th April, 1783. 

The distresses which I have set forth in my for- 
mer letters are now increased to such an alarming 
pitch by the imprudent measures of your Governor, 
and by the arbitrary and impolitic conduct pursued 
with the merchants and importers of grain, that the 
very existence of the Fort of Madras seems at stake, 
and that of the inhabitants of the settlement appears 
to have been totally overlooked : many thousands have 
died, and continue hourly to perish of famine, though 
the capacity of one of your youngest servants, with 
diligence and attention, by doing justice, and giving 
reasonable encouragement to the merchants, and by 
drawing the supplies of grain which the northern 
countries would have afforded, might have secured 
us against all those dreadful calamities. I liad with 
much difficulty procured and purchased a small quan- 
tity of rice, for the use of myself, my family, and at- 
tendants, and with a view of sending off the greatest 
part of the latter to the northern countries, with a 
little subsistence in their hands. But what must your 
6'xrprise be, when you learn that even this rice was 

• See Tellinga letter, at the end of this correspondence. 




seized by Lord Macartney, with a militaiy force ! and 
thus am I unable to provide for the few people I have 
about me, wlio are driven to such extremity and mis- 
ery that it gives me pain to behold them. I have 
desired permission to get a little rice from the north- 
ern countries for the subsistence of my people, with- 
out its being liable to seizure by your sepoys: this 
even has been refused me by Lord Macartney. What 
must your feelings be, on such wanton cruelty exer- 
cised towards me, when you consider, that, of thou- 
sands of villages belonging to me, a single one wouM 
have sufficed for my subsistence ! 

22d March, 1783. Tramlation of a Letter from the 
Nabob of Arcot to the Chairman and Directors of the 
Hast India Company. Received from Mr. James 
Macpherson, 1st January, 1784. 

I AM willing to attribute this continued usurpa- 
tion to the fear of detection in Lord Macartney : he 
dreads the awful day when the scene of his enormi- 
ties will be laid open, at my restoration to my coun- 
try, and when the tongues of my oppressed subjects 
will be unloosed, and proclaim aloud the cruel tyran- 
nies they have sustained. These sentiments of his 
Lordship's designs are corroborated by his sending, on 
the 10th instant, two gentlemen to me and my son, 
Aniir-ul-Omrah ; and these gentlemen from Lord Ma- 
cartney especially set forth to me, and to my son, that 
all nendence on the power of the superior govern- 
ment vl Bengal to enforce the intentions of the Com- 
pany to restore my country was vain and groundless, 
— that the Company confided in his Lordship's judg- 
ment and discretion, and upon his representations, and 




I ii''f' 



I •! 


that if I, and my son, Amir-ul-Omrah, would enter in- 
to friendship with Lord Macartney, and sign a paper 
declaring all my charges and complaints against him 
to be false, that his Lordship might be induced to write 
to England that all his allegations against me and 
my son were not well founded, and, notwithstanding 
his declarations to withhold my country, yet, on these 
considerations, it might be still restored to me. 

What must be your feelings for your ancient and 
faithful friend, on his receiving such insults to his 
lienor and understanding from your principal servant, 
armed with your authority ! From these manoeuvres, 
amongst thousands I have experienced, the truth must 
evidently appear to you, that I have not been loaded 
with tliose injuries and oppressions from motives of 
public service, but to answer the private views and 
interests of his Lordship and his secret agents : some 
papers to this point are inclosed; others, almcct with- 
out number, must be submitted to your justice, when 
time and circumstances shall enable mo fully to in- 
vestigate those transactions. This opportunity will 
not permit the full representation of my load of in- 
juries and distresses : I beg leave to refer you to my 
minister, Mr. Macpherson, for the papers, according 
to the inclosed list, which accompanied my last dis- 
patches by the Rodney, which i fear have failed ; and 
my correspondence with Lord Macartney subsequent 
to that period, such as I have been able to jirepare 
for this opportunity, are inclosed. 

Notwithstanding all the violent acts and declara- 
tions of Lord Macartney, yet a consciousness of his 
own misconduct was the sole incentive to the mena- 
ces and overtures he has hold out in various shapes. 
He has been insultingly lavish in his expressions of 



high respect for my person ; has had the insolence to 
say that all his measures flowed from his affection- 
ate regard alone; has presumed to say that all his 
enmity and oppression were levelled at my son, Amir- 
ul-Omrah, to whom he before acknowledged every aid 
and assistance ; and his Lordship being without any 
just cause or foundation for complaint against us, or 
a veil to cover his own violences, he has now had re- 
course to the meanness and has dared to intimate of 
my son, in order to intimidate me and to strengthen 
his own wicked purposes, to be hi league with our 
enemies the French. You must doubtless be aston- 
ished, no less at the assurance than at the absurdity 
of such a wicked suggestion. 

Ik the Nabob's o\ j haitd. 

P. S. In my own handwriting I acqu iited Mr. 
Hastings, as I now do my ancient friends the Com- 
pany, with the insult offered to my honor and under- 
standing, in the extraordinary propositions sent to me 
by Lord Macartney, through two gentlemen, on the 
10th instant, so artfully veiled with menaces, hopes, 
and promises. But how can Lord Macartney add to 
his enormities, after his wicked and calumniating in- 
sinuations, so evidently directed against me and my 
family, t'- -^h my faithful, my dutiful, and beloved 
son, Ar Orarah, who, you well know, has been 

ever bor, bred among>. he English, whom I have 

studiously brought up in the warmest sentiments of 
affection and attachment to them, — sentiments that 
in his maturity have been his highest ambition to im- 
prove, in^<omuch that he knows no happiness but in 
the faitliiul support of our alliance and connection 
with the English nation ? 


• il 

Si I i 

U (I 




5 1 


. fl 






12th August, and Postscript of the 16th August, 
1783. IVanalation of a Letter to the Chairman 
and Directors of the Eatt India Company. Re- 
ceived from Mr. James Macpberson, 14th January, 

Yorra astonishment and indignation will be equal- 
ly raised with mine, when you hear that your Presi- 
dent has dared, contrary to your intention, to contin- 
ue to usurp the privileges and hereditary powers of 
tiie Nabob of the Carnatic, your old and unshaken 
fiiend, and the declared ally of the king of Great 

I will not take up your time by enumerating the 
particular acts of Lord Macartney's violence, cruelty, 
and injustice : they, indeed, occur toofrequeinily, and fall 
upon me and my devoted subjects and country too thick, 
to he regularly related. I refer you to my minister, 
Mr. James Macpberson, for a more circumstantial ac- 
count of the oppressions and enormities by which he has 
brought both mine and the Company's affairs to the 
brink of destruction. I trust that such flagrant vio- 
lations of all justice, honor, and the faith of treaties 
will receive the severest marks of your displeasure, 
and that Lord Macartney's conduct, in making use 
of your name and authority as a sanction for the 
continuance of his usurpation, will be disclaimed 
with the utmost indignation, and followed with the 
severest punishment. I conceive that his Lordship's 
arbitrary retention of my country and government 
can only originate in his insatiable cravings, in his im- 
placable malevolence against me, and througli fear of 
detection, which must follow the surrender of the Car- 
natic into my liands, of those nefarious proceedings 




which are now suppressed by the arm of violence and 

I did not fail to represent to the supreme govern- 
ment of Bengal the deplorable situation to which I 
was reduced, and the unmerited persecutions I have 
unremittingly sustained from Lord Macartney; and 
I earnestly implored them to stretch forth a saving 
arm, and interpose that controlling power which was 
vested in them, to check rapacity and presumption^ 
and preserve the honor and faith of the Company 
from violation. The Governor-General and Council 
not only felt the cruelty and injustice I had suffered, 
but were greatly alarmed for the fatal consequences 
that might result from the distrust of the country 
powers in the professions of the English, when they 
saw the Nabob of the Carnatic, the friend of the Com- 
pany, and the ally of Great Britain, thus stripped of 
his rights, his dominions, and his dignity, by tlie most 
fraudulent means, and under the mask of friendship. 
The Bengal government had already heard both the 
Mahrattas and the Nizam urge, as an objection to an 
alliance with the English, the faithless behavior of 
Lord Macartney to a prince whose life had been devot- 
ed and whose treasures had been exhausted in their 
service and support ; and they did not hesitate to give 
positive orders to Lord Macartney for the restitution 
of my government and authority, on such terms as 
were not only strictly honorable, but equally advan- 
tageous to my friends the Company : for they just- 
ly thought that my honor and dignity and sovereign 
rights were the first olyects of my wishes and ambi- 
tion. But how can I paint my astonishment at Lord 
Macartney's presumption in continuing his usurpa- 
tion after their positive and reiterated mandates, and, 




as if nettled by their interference, which he disdained, 
in redoubling the fury of his violence, and sacrificing 
the public and myself to his malice and ungovernable 
passions ? 

I am. Gentlemen, at a loss to conceive where his 
usurpation will stop and have en end. Has he not 
solemnly declared that the assignment was only made 
for the support of war? and if neither your instruc- 
tions nor the orders of his superiors at Bengal were 
to be considered as effectual, has not the treaty of 
peace virtually determined the period of his tyran- 
nical administration ? But so far from surrendering 
the Carnatic into my hands, he has, since that event, 
affixed advertisements to the walls and gates of the 
Black Town for letting to the best bidder the various 
districts for the term of three years,— and has contin- 
ued tho Committee of Revenue, which you positively 
ordered to be abolished, to whom he has allowed 
enormous salaries, from 6000 to 4000 pagodas per 
ajinum, which each member has received from the 
time of his appointment, though his Lordsliip well 
knows that most of them are by your orders disquali- 
fied by being my principal creditors. 

If those acts of violence and outrage had been 
productive of public advantage, I conceive his Lord- 
ship might have held them forward in extenuation 
of his conduct ; but whilst he cloaks his justification 
undoi- the veil of your records, it is impossible to re- 
fute his assertions or to expose to you their fallacy ; 
and when he is no longer able to support his conduct 
by argument, he refers to those records, where, I 
understand, he has exercised all his sophistry and 
malicious insinuations to render me and my family 
( bnoxious in the eyes of the Company and the Brit- 



Ish nation. And when the glorious victories of Sir 
Eyre Coote have been rendered abortive by a con- 
stant deficiency of supplies, — and when, since the 
departure of timt excellent general to Bengal, wliose 
loss I must ever regret, a dreadful famine, at the 
close of last year, occasioned by liis Lordsliip's neg- 
lect to lay ip a sufficient stoclc of grain at a proper 
season, and from his prohibitory orders to private 
merchants, — and when no exertion has been made, 
nor advantage gaiuod over the enemy, — when Hy- 
der's death and Tippoo's return to his own dominions 
operated in no degree for the benefit of our affairs, — 
in short, when all has been a continued series of dis- 
appohitment and disgrace under Lord Macartney's 
management, (and in him alone has tlie manage- 
ment been vested,) — I want words to convey those 
ideas of his insufficiency, ignorance, and obstinacy 
which I am convinced you would entertain, had 
you been spectators of his ruinous and destructive 

But against me, and my son, Amir-ul-Omrah, 
has his Lordship's vengeance cliiefly been exerted: 
even the Company's own subordinate zemindars liave 
found better treatment, probably because they were 
more rich ; those of Nizanagoram have been permit- 
ted, contrary to your pointed orders, to hold their rich 
zemindaries at tlie old disproportionate rate of little 
more than a sixth part of the real revenue ; and my 
zemindar of Tanjore, though he should have regarded 
himself equally concerned with us in the event of tlie 
war, and from whose fertile country many valuable 
harvests have been gatliered in, which have sold at a 
vast price, has, I understand, only contributed, last 
year, towards the public exigencies, the very incon- 

' Jl 


r • 

1 1 J; I 


ti I! 



siderable sum of one lac of pagodas, aiid a few thou- 
sand pagodas' worth of grain. 

I am much concernod to acquaint you that ever 
since the peace a dreadful famine has swept away 
many thousands of tlie followers and sepoys' families 
of tlio army, from Lord Macartney's neglect to send 
down grain to the camp, though the roads are crowded 
with vessels : but his Lordship has been too intent up- 
on his own disgraceful schemes to attend to the wants 
of the army. The negotiation witli Tippoo, which ho 
has set on foot through the mediation of Monsieur 
Bussy, has employed all his thoughts, and to the 
attainment of that object he will sacrifice the dearest 
interests of the Company to gratify his malevolence 
against me, and for his own private advantages. The 
endeavor to treat with Tippoo, through the means of 
the French, must strike you, Gentlemen, as highly 
improper and impolitic ; but it must raise your ut- 
most indignation to hear, that, by intercepted letters 
from Bussy to Tippoo, as well as from their respective 
vakeels, and from various accounts from Cuddalore, 
we have every reason to conclude that his Lordship's 
secretary, Mr. Staunton, when at Cuddalore, as his 
agent to settle the cessation of arms with the French, 
was informed of all their operations and projects, and 
consequently that Lord Macartney h,a» secretly connived 
at Monsieur Bussy^a recommendation to Tippoo to rer 
turn into the Camatic, as the means of procuring the 
most advantageous terms, and furnishing Lord Macart- 
ney with the plea of nectc.ity for concluding a peace af- 
ter his own manner: and what further confirms the 
truth of this fact is, that repeated reports, as well as 
the alarms of the inhabitants to the westward, leave 
us no reason to doubt that Tippoo is approaching to- 





wards us. His Lordship h^s issued public orders 
that the garrison store of rice, for which we are m- 
debted to the exertions of the Bengal government, 
should be immediately disposed of, and has strictly 
forbid all private grain to be sold ; by which act he 
effectually prohibits all private importation of grain, 
and may eventually cause as horrid a famine as that 
which we experienced at tlie close of last year from 
tiie same shortsighted policy and destructive prohi- 
bitions of Lord Macartney. 

But as he has the fabrication of the records in his 
own hands, he trusts to those partial representations 
of his character and conduct, because tlie signatures 
of those members of government whom he seldom 
consults are affixe*'., as a public sanction ; but you 
may form a just idea of their correctness and propri- 
ety, when you are informed that his Lordship, upon 
ut/ noticing the heavy disbursements made for secret 
service money, ordered the sums to be struck off, and the 
accourts to be erased from the cash-book of the Com- 
pany; and I think I cannot give you a better proof 
of his management of my country and revenues than 
by calling your attention to liis conduct in the On- 
gole province, and by referring you to his Lordship's 
administration of your own jaghire, from whence he 
has brought to the public account the sum of twelve 
hundred pagodas for the last year's revenue, yet J la- 
zons forth Iiis vast merits and exertions, and expects 
to rucoive t thanks of his Committee and Council. 

I will beg leave to refer you to my minister, James 
Macpherson, Esq., for a more particular account of 
my sufferings and miseries, to whom I have trans- 
mitted copies of all papers that passed with his 

•J rl' 

e ill J 





!■ i 


I cannot conclude without cidling your attention 
to the $ituation of my different creditor*, whoso claims 
are the claims of justice, and whose demands I am 
bound by honor and every moral obligation to dis- 
charge ; it is not, therefore, without great concern I 
have heard insinuations tenduig to question the legal- 
ity of their right to the payment of those just debts : 
they proceeded from advances made by them openly 
and honorably for the support of my own and the 
public aflairs. But I hope the tongue of calumny 
will never drown the voice of truth and justice ; a..d 
while that is heard, the wisdom of the English nation 
oinnot fail to accede to an effectual remedy for their 
distresses, by any arrangement in which their claims 
may bo duly considered and equitably provided for : 
and for this purpose, my minister, Mr. Maepherton, 
w" iubtcribe, in my name, to any agreement 

you, '' proper to adopt, founded on the tame 

princi^. 'ither of the engagements I entered 

into with un. ^^preme government of Bengal for oiu 
mutual uiterest and advantage. 

I always pray for your happiness and prosperity. 

6th September, and Postscript of 7th September, 
1783. Translation of a Letter from the Nabob of 
Arcot to the Chairman and Directors of the East 
India Company. Received from Mr. James Mac- 
pherson, 14th January, 1784. 

I REFER you. Gentlemen, to my inclosed duplicate, 
as well as to my minister, Mr. Macpherson, for the 
particulars of my suflFerings. There is no word or 
action of mine that is not perverted ; and though it 
was my intention to have sent my son^ Amir-ul-Om- 



rah, who is well voraod in n . .tfaire, to Bengal, to 
impress those gentlemen witii a full sense of my situ- 
ation, yet I find myself obliged to lay it aside, from 
the insinuations of the calumniating tongue of Lord 
Macartney, that takes every license to traduce every 
action of ray life and that of my son. I am informed 
that Lord Macartney, at this late iftomcnt, intends 
to write a letter: I am ignorant of the subject, but 
fully perceive, that, by delaying to send it till the 
very eve of the dispatch, he means to deprive me of 
all possibility of communicating my reply, and for- 
warding it tor the informatiun of my friends in Eng- 
land. Conscious of the weak ground on which he 
stands, he is obliged to have recourse to these arti- 
fices to mislead the judgment, and support for a time 
his unjustifiable measures by deceit and imposition. 
I wish only to meet and combat his charges and alle- 
gations fairly and openly, and I have repeatedly and 
urgently demanded to be furnished with copies of 
those pan of his fabricated records relative to my- 
self; but as he well knows I should refute liis sophis- 
try, I cannot be surprised at his refusal, tho'igh I 
lament that it prevents you, Gentlemen, from a clear 
investigation of his conduct towards me. 

Inclosed you have a translation of an arzee from 
the Killidar of Vellore. I have thousands of the same 
kind; but this, just now received, will servo to give 
you some idea of the miseries brought upon this my 
devoted country, and the wretched inhabitants that 
remain in it, by the oppressive hand of Lord Macart- 
ney's management : nor will the embezzlements of col- 
lections thus obtained, when brought before you in 
proof, appear less extraordinary, — which shall cer- 
tainly le done in "ue time. 










=)J. \ 



Translation of an Arzee, in the Persian Language, 
from Uzzirrwul-Boen Cavm, the Killidar of Vellore, 
to the Nabob, dated 1st September, 1783. Inclosed 
in the Nabob's Letter to the Court of Directors, 
September, 1783. 

I HAVE repeatedly represented to yoiir Highness 
the violences and oppressions exercised by tlie pres- 
ent aumildar [collector of revenue], of Lord Macart- 
ney's appointment, over the few remaining inhabi- 
tants of the districts of Vellore, Amboor, Saulguda, 

The outrages and violences now committed are 
of that astonishing nature as were never known or 
heard of during the administration of the Circar. 
Hyder Naik, the cruellest of tyrants, used every kind 
of oppression in the Circar countries ; but even his 
measures were not like those now pursued. Such of 
the inhabitants as had escaped the sword and pillage 
of Hyder Naik, by taking refuge in the woods, and 
within the walls of Vellore, &c., on the arrival of 
Lord Macartney's aumildar to Vellore, and in conse- 
quence of his cowle of protection and support, most 
cheerfully returned to the villages, set about the cul- 
tivation of the lands, and with great pains rebuilt 
their cottages. — But now the aumildar has impris- 
oned the wives and children of the inhabitants, seized 
the few jewels that were on the bodies of the women, 
and then, before the faces of their husbands, flogged 
them, in order to make them pi'oduce other jewels 
and effects, which he said they had buried some- 
where under ground, and to make the inhabitants 
bring him money, notwithstanding there was yet no 
cultivation in the country. Terrified with the flagel- 




lations, some of them produced their jewels and 
wearing-apparel of their women, to the amount of 
ten or fifteen pagodas, which they had hidden; oth- 
ers, who declared they had none, the aumildar flogged 
their women severely, tied cords around their breasts, 
and tore the sucking children from their teats, and 
exposed tliem to the scorching heat of the sun. 
Those children died, as did the wife of Ramsoamy, 
an inhabitant of Bringpoor. Even this could not stir 
up compassion in the breast of the aumildar. Some 
of the children that were somewhat large he exposed 
to sale. In short, the violences of the aumildar are 
so astonishing, that the people, on seeing the present 
situation, remember the loss of Hyder with regret. 
With whomsoever the aumildar finds a single measure 
of natchinee or rice, he takes it away from him, and 
appropriates it to the expenses of the sibindy that he 
keeps up. No revenues are collected from the coun 
tries, but from the effects of the poor, wretched inhab- 
itants. Those ryots [yeomen] who intended to return 
to their habitations, hearing of those violences, liave 
fled for refuge, with their wives and cliildren, into 
Hyder's country. Every day is ushered in and closed 
with these violences and disturbances. I have no 
power to do anything; and who will hear what I 
have to say ? My business is to inform your High- 
ness, who are my master. The people bring their 
complaints to me, and I tell them I will write to your 

• Tlic above-recited practices, or practices similar to them, have 
prevailed in almost every part of the miserable conntries on the coast 
of Corcjmandel for near twenty years past. That they prevailed as 
strongly and generally as they could prevail, under the administra- 
tion of the Nabob, there caii be no question, notwithstanding the as- 

I A 









i' ■ 
1 ' 



•,'f I 


Translation of a Tellinga Letter from Veira Permaul, 
Head Duhash to Lord Macartney, in his own Hand- 
irriting, to Rajah Ramchunda, the Renter of Ongole. 
Dated 25th of the Hindoo month Maiisay, in the 
year Plavanamal, corresponding to 5th March, 

I PRESENT m/ -espects to you, and am very well 
here, wisliing * > rjar frequ'^ntly of your welfare. 

Your peaslier v ancatroyloo has brought tlie Vis- 
seel Bakces, and delivered them to mo, as also tvhat 
you sent him for me to deliver to my master, which 1 
have done. My master at first refused to take it, he- 
cause he is unacquainted with your disposition, or what 
kind of a person you are. But after I made enco- 
miums on your goodness and greatness of mind, and 
took my oath to the same, and that it would not be- 

scrtion in the beginning of the above petition ; nor will it ever be 
otherwise, whilst aiTairs are conducted npon the principles which in- 
fluence the present system. Whether the particulars hero asserted 
are true or false neither the Court of Directors nor their ministry 
have thought proper to inquire. If they are true, in order to bring 
them to affect Lord Macartney, it ought to be proved that the com- 
plaint was made to him, and that he had refused redress. Instead of 
this fair course, the complaint is carried to the Court of Directors. — 
The above is one of the documents transmitted by the Nabob, in 
proof of his charge of corruption against Lord Macartney. If genn- 
ine, it is conclusive, at least against Lord Macartney's principal agent 
and manager. If it be a forgery, (as in all likelihood it is,) it is conclu- 
sive against the Nabob and his evil counsellors, and fully demon- 
strates, if anything further were necessary to demonstrate, the neces- 
sity of the clause in Mr. Fox's bill prohibiting the residence of the 
native princes in the Company's principal settlements, — wliich clause 
was, for obvious reasons, not admitted into Mr. Pitt's. It shows, too, 
the absolute necessity of a severe and exemplary punishment on cer- 
tain of his English evil counsellors and creditors, by whom such prac- 
tices are carried on 




come public, but be held as precious as our lives, my 
mmter accepted it. You may remaiu satisfied that I 
will got tlie Ongolo business settled in your name ; 
I will cause the jamaubundee to be settled agreeable 
to your desire. It was formerly the Nabob's iiiteution 
to give this business to you, as the Governor knows 
full well, but did not at that time agree to it, which 
you must be well acquainted with. 

Your peasher ^"'- •. atroyloo is a very careful, good 
man ; lie is wei -ienced in business ; he has 

bound me by an oa. ep all this business secret, and 

that his own, yours, and my lives are responsible for it. 
I v.-rite this letter to you with the greatest reluctance, 
and I signified the same to your peasher, and declared 
tliat I would not write to you by any means. To this 
the peasher urged, that, if I did not write to Ids mas- 
ter, how could he know to whom he (the peasher) deliv- 
ered the money, and what must bis master think of it ? 
Therefore I write you this letter, and send it by my 
servant Ramanah, accompanied by the peasher's ser- 
vant, and it will come safe to your hands. After pe- 
rusal, you will send it back to me immediately : until 
I receive it, I don't like to eat my victuals or take any 
sleep. Your peasher took his oath, and urged me 
to write this for your satisfaction, and has engaged to 
mo that I sliall have this letter returned to me in the 
space of twelve days. 

The present Governor is not like the former Gov- 
ernors : he is a very greai .nan in Europe ; and all 
tlie great men of Europe are much obliged to him for 
his condescension in accepting the government of this 
place. It is liis custom, when he makes friendship with 
any one, to continue it always ; and if he is at enmity 
with any one, he n< 'er will desist till he has tvorked 

VOL lU. U 








w ■ 


7ii8 destruction. He M now exceedingly displeased ivith 
the Nabob, and you will understand hy-andrby that 
the Nabob's business cannot be carried on ; he (the Na- 
bob) will have no power to do anything in his own 
affairs : you have, therefore, no room U' fear him ; you 
may remain with a contented mind. I desired the 
Governor to write you a letter for your satisfaction : 
the Governor said he would do so, when the business 
was settled. Tliis letter you must peruse as soon as 
possible, and send it back with all speed by the bearer, 
Ramadoo, accompanied by three or four of your peo- 
ple, to the end that : o accident may happen on the 
road. These people must be ordered to march in the 
night only, and to arrive here with the greatest dis- 
patch. You sent ten mangoes for my master and 
two for me, all of which I have delivered to my mas- 
ter, thinking that ten was not sufficient to present him 
with. I write this for your information, and salute 
you with ten thousand respects. 

I, Muttu Kistnah, of IJadras Pat- ^ 
nam, dubash, declare that I 
perfectly understand the 6en- 
too language, and do most sol- 
emnly affirm that the foregoing 
is a true translation of the an- 
nexed paper writing firom the 
Geutoo language. 

Muttu Eistnah. 









I l! 








1,1 : 



MR. BURKE'S speech on the report of the anny 
estimates has not been correctly stated in some 
of the public papers. It is of consequence to him 
not to be misunderstood. The matter which inci- 
dentally came into discussion is of the most serious 
importance. It is thought that the heads and sub- 
stance of the speech will answer the purpose suffi- 
ciently. If, in making the abstract, through defect 
of memory in the person who now gives it, any dif- 
ference at all should be perceived from the speech as 
it was spoken, it will not, the editor imagines, be 
found in anything which may amount to a retrac- 
tion of the opinions he then maintained, or to any 
softening in the expressions in which they were con- 

Mr. Burke spoke a considerable time in answer to 
various arguments, which had been insistcl upon by 
Mr. Grenville and Mr. Pitt, for keeping an increased 
peace establishment, and against an improper jeal- 
ousy of the ministers, in whom a full confidence, 
subject to responsibility, ought to be placed, on ac- 
count of their knowledge of the real situation of 
affairs, the exact state of which it frequently hap- 
pened that they could not disclose without violating 
the constitutional and political secrecy necessary to 
the well-being of their country. 

^ JiB 







Mr. Burke said in substance, Tliat confidence 
migJit become a vice, and jealousy a virtue, accord- 
ing to circumstances. That confidence, of all public 
virtues, was the most dangerous, and jealousy in au 
House of Commons, of all public vices, the most toler- 
able, — especially where the number and the charge 
of standing armies in time of peace was the question. 

That in the annual Mutiny Bill the annual army 
was declared to be for the purpose of preserving the 
balance of power in Europe. The propriety of its 
being larger or smaller depended, therefore, upon 
the true state of that balance. If the increase of 
peace establishments demanded of Parliament agreed 
with the manifest appearance of the balance, confi- 
dence in ministers as to the particulars would be 
very proper. If the increase was not at all supported 
by any such appearance, he thought great jealousy 
might be, and ought to be, entertained o) that sub- 

That he did not find, on a review of all Europe, 
that, p<jlitically, we stood in the smallest degree of 
danger from any one state or kingdom it contained, 
nor that any other foreign powers than our own allies 
were likely to obtain a considerable preponderance in 
the scale. 

That France had hitherto been our first object in 
all considerations concerning the balance of power. 
The presence or absence of France totally varied 
every sort of speculation relative to that balance. 

That France is at this time, in a political light, to 
be considered as ovTuinged out of the system of Eu 
rope. Whether o could ever appear in it again, 
as a loading power, was not easy to determine ; but 
at present he considered France as not politically ex- 




isting; and most assuredly it would take up much 
time to restore her to her former active existence: 
Galloa quoque in bellia floruiase audivimua might pos- 
sibly bo the language of the rising generation. Ho 
did not mean to deny that it was our duty to keep 
our eye on tliat nation, and to regulate our prepara- 
tion by the symptoms of her reoovery. 

That it was to her strength, not to her form of gov- 
ernment, wliich wo were to attend ; because republics, 
as well as monarchies, were susceptible of ambition, 
jealousy, and anger, the usual causes of war. 

But if, while France continued in this swoon, we 
should go on increasing our expenses, we should cer- 
tainly make ourselves less a match for her when it 
became our concern i < arm. 

It was said, that, as she had speedily fallen, she 
might speedily rise again. He doubted this. That 
the fall from an height was with an accelerated veloci- 
ty ; but to lift a weight up to that height again was 
difficult, and opposed by the laws of physical and po- 
litical gravitation. 

In a political view, France was low indeed. She 
had lost everytliing, even to her name. 

Jacet ingcns littore trnncns, 
Avolsumqne humeris caput, et sine rumiine corpus.* 

He was astonished at it; he was alarmed at it; he 
trembled at the uncertainty of all human greatness. 

• Mr. Burke probably had in his mind the remainder of the pas- 
sage, and was filled with some congenial apprehensions : — 

Hkc finis Priami Hitoram ; hie exitus illam 
Sorte tulit, Trtijam inwDsam et prolapsa rldencem 
Pergama, tot quonJiitn populia terrisqae auperbum 
Kegimtnrem A^iie. Jncet ingens littore truncus, 
Avolsumque hamt^ris caput, et sine noicine corpus. 
At me turn primum fmvuA circumstetic horror t 
Obstupul ; $ub)'t chari gtnitoTU imago. 

< : 



Since the House had been prorogned in the sum- 
mer much work was done in Franco. The French 
had shown themselves the ablest architects of ruin 
that had hitherto existed in the world. In that very 
short space of 3 they had completely pulled down 
to t!io ground . if monarchy, their church, their no- 
bility, their law, their revenue, their army, their navy, 
their commerce, their arts, and their manufactures. 
They had done their business for us as rivals in a way 
in which twenty Ramillies or Blenheims could never 
have done it. Were we absolute conquerors, and 
France to lie prostrate at our feet, we should be 
ashamed to send a commission to settle their affairs 
whicli could impose so hard a law upon the French, 
and so destructive of all their consequence as a nation, 
as that they had imposed upon tliemselves. 

France, by the mere circumstance of its vicinity, 
had been, and in a degree always must be, an object 
of our vigilance, either with regard to her actual 
power or to lier influence and example. As to the 
former he had spoken ; as to the latter ( her exam- 
ple) he should say a few words : for by this example 
our friendship and our intercourse with that nation 
had once been, and might again become, more dan- 
gerous to us than their worst hostility. 

In the last century, Louis the Fourteenth had es- 
tablished a greater and better disciplined military 
force than ever had been before seen in Europe, and 
with it a perfect despotism. Though that despotism 
was proudly arrayed in manners, gallantry, splendor, 
magnificence, and even covered over with the im- 
posing robes of science, literatiire, and arts, it was, in 
government, notliing better than a painted and gilded 
tyranny, — in religion, a hard, stern intolerance, the 



fit companion and auxiliary to the despotic tyranny 
which prevailed in its government. The same charac- 
ter of despotism insinuated itself into every court of 
Europe, — the same spirit of disproportioncd magnifi- 
cence, — the same lovo of standing armies, aho"e tiio 
ability of the people. In particular, our tlien sover 
eigns, King Cliarles and King James, fell in lovo 
with the govornmont of their neighbor, so flattering 
to the pride of kings. A similarity of sentiments 
brought on connections equally dangcrovis to the in- 
terests and liberties of their country. It were well 
that the infection had gone no farther than the 
throne. The admiration of a governmint flourish- 
ing and successful, unchecked in its operations, and 
seeming, therefore, to compass its objects more speed- 
ily and cfiectually, gained something upon all ranks 
of people. The good patriots of that day, however, 
struggled against it. They sought nothitig more 
anxiously than to break off all communication with 
France, and to beget c. jtal alienation from its coun- 
cils and its example, — which, by tb.e animosity prev- 
alent between the abettors of their religious system 
and the assertors of ours, waS in some degree ef- 

This day the evil is totally changed in France : but 
there is an evil there. The disease is altered ; btit 
the vicinity of the two countries remains, and mu^t 
remain ; and the natural mental habits of mankind 
are such, that the present distemper of France is far 
more likely to be contagious than the old one ; for it 
is not quite easy to spread a passion for servitude 
among tlie people ; but in all evils of the opposite 
kind our natural inclinations are fl tercd. In tiie 
case of despotism, there is thefcedum crimen servitutU: 






in the last, the falsa species Ubertatit; and according- 
ly, as the historian s!iys,proni» aur'hut accipUur. 

In the last ago wo wcro in danger of being cntan 
p^led by the cxamjdo of Franco in tlio net of a relent- 
less dcspotii^ra. It is not necessary to say anything 
upon that oxam[)lo. It exists no longer. Our pres- 
ent danger from tlio example of a people whoso 
cliaracter knows no medium is, with regard to gov- 
ernment, a danger from anarchy : a danger of being 
led, tlirongli an admiration of successful fraud and 
violence, to an imitation of the excesses of an irra- 
tional, unprincipled, proscribing, confiscating, plun- 
dering, ferocious, bloody, and tyraiuiical democracy. 
On the side of religion, the danger of their example is 
no longer from intolerance, but from atheism : a foul, 
unnatural vice, foe to all the dignity and consolation 
of mankind ; which seems in France, for a long time, 
to have been embodied into a faction, accredited, and 
almost avowed. 

These are our present dangers from France. But, 
in his opinion, the very worst part of the example 
set is in the late assumption of citizenship by the 
army, and the whole of the arrangement, or rather 
disarrangement, of tlioir military. 

He was sorry that liis right lionorable friend (Mr. 
Fox) had dropped even a woid expressive of exul- 
tation on tliat circums^tance, or that he seemed of 
opinion tliat tlie objection from standing armies was 
at all lessened by it. He attributed this opinion of 
Mr. Fox entirely to his known zeal for the best of all 
causes, liberty. Tliat it was with a pain inexpressible 
he was obliged to have even the shadow of a differ- 
ence with his friend, \shose authority would always 
be great with him, and witli all thinking people,— 




Quce marima icmp • -"tefii. nohit, et EUIT quce maxima 
iemper; — his coiilt<iviico in Mr. Fox was such, aiid bo 
ample, as to be almost implicit. That he was not 
ashamed to avow that dogree of docility. That, whon 
the choi''0 is well made, it strengthens, instead of op- 
pressing our intellect. That ho who calls in the aid 
of an equal understanding douI>lus his own. He who 
profits of a superior understanding raises liis powers to 
a level with the height of the superior understanding 
ho unites with. He had '*ound the benefit of such a 
junction, and would not lightly depart from it. IIo 
wished almost, on all occasions, that his sentiments 
were understood to bo conveyed in Mr. Fox's words. 
And that he wished, as amongst the greatest benefits 
he could wish the country, an eminent share of power 
to that right honorable gentleman ; because he knew 
that to his great and masterly understanding ho had 
joined the greatest possible degree of that natural 
moderation which is tho best corrective of power: 
that he was of the most artless, candid, open, and be- 
nevolent disposition ; disinterested hi the extreme ; 
of a temper mild and placable even to a fault ; with- 
out ono drop of gall in his whole constitution. 

That the House must perceive, from his coming 
forward to mark an expression or two of his best 
friend, how anxious ho was to keep the distemper 
of France from the least countenance in England, 
where he was sure some wicked persons had shown 
a strong disposition to recommend an imitation of 
the French spirit of reform. He was so strotigly 
opposed to any the least tendency towards the means 
of introducing a democracy like theirs, as well as to 
the end itself, that, much as it would afflict him, if 
such a thing could bo attempted, and that any friend 












3W.';. ■"%•- 



of his could concur in such measures, (he was far, 
very far, from believing they could,) he would aban- 
don his best friends, and join with his worst enemies, 
to oppose either the means or the end, — and to resist 
all violent exertions of the spirit of innovation, so dis- 
tant from all principles of true and safe reformation : 
a spirit well calculated to overturn states, but per- 
fectly unfit to amend them. 

That he was no enemy to reformation. Almost 
every business in which he was much concerned, 
from the first day he sat in that House to that hour, 
was a business of reformation ; and when he had not 
been employed in v^orrecting, he had been employed 
in resisting abuses. Some traces of this spirit in 
him now stand on their statute-book. In his opinion, 
^anything which unnecessarily tore to pieces the con- 
texture of the state not only prevented all real refor- 
mation, but introduced evils which would call, but 
perhaps call in vain, for new reformation. 

That he thought the French nation very unwise. 
What they valued themselves on was a disgrace to 
them. They had gloried (and some people in Eng- 
land had thought fit to take share in that glory) in 
making a Revolution, as if revolutions were good 
things in themselves. All the horrors and all the 
crimes of the anarchy which led to their Revolution, 
which attend its progress, and which may virtually 
attend it in its establishment, pass for nothing with 
the lovers of revolutions. Tlie French have made 
their way, through the destruction of their country, 
to a bad constitution, when they were absolutely in 
possession of a good one. They were in possession 
of it the day the states met in separate oruors. Their 
business, had they been either virtuous or wise, or had 



been left to their own judgment, was to Becure the 
stability and independence of the etatee, according 
to those orders, under the monarch on the throne. 
It was then their duty to redress grievances. 

Listead of redressing grievances, and improving the 
fabric of their state, to which they were called by 
their monarch and sent by their country, they were 
made to take a very difierent course. They first de- 
stroyed all the balances and counterpoises which serve 
to fix the state and to give it a steady direction, and 
which furnish sure correctives to any violent spirit 
which may prevail in any of the orders. These bal- 
ances existed in their oldest constitution, and in the 
constitution of this country, and in the constitution 
of all the countries in Europe. These they rashly 
destroyed, and then they melted down the whole into 
one incongruous, ill-connected mass. 

When they had done this, they instantly, and with 
the most atrocious perfidy and breach of all faith 
among men, laid the axe to the root of all proper 
ty, and consequently of all national prosperity, by 
the principles they established and the example they 
set, in confiscating all the possessions of the Church. 
They made and recorded a sort of institute and digest 
of anarchy, called the Rights of Man, in such a pedan- 
tic abuse of elementary principles as would have dis- 
graced boys at school : but this declaration of rights 
was worse than trifling and pedantic in them ; as 
by their name and authority they systematically de- 
stroyed every hold of authority by opinion, religious 
or civil, on the minds of the people. By this mad 
declaration they subverted the state, and brought on 
such calamities as no country, without a long war, 
has ever been known to suffer, and which may in 











the end produce such a war, and perhaps many 

With them the question was not between despot- 
ism and liberty. The sacrifice they made of the 
peace and power of their country was not made on 
the altar of freedom. Freedom, and a better security 
for freedom than that they have taken, they might 
have had without any sar^rifice at all. They brought 
tliemselves into all tb;. calamities they suffer, not 
that through them they might obtain a British consti- 
tution ; they plunged themselves headlong into those 
calamities to prevent themselves from settling into 
that constitution, or into anything resembling it. 

That, if they should perfectly succeed in what they 
propose, as they are likely enough to do, and estab- 
lish a democracy, or a mob of democracies, in a coun- 
try circumstanced like Prance, they will establish a 
very bad government, — a very bad species of tyr- 

That the worst effect of all their proceeding was on 
their military, which was rendered an army for every 
purpose but that of defence. That, if the question 
was, whether soldiers were to forget they were citi- 
zens, as an abstract proposition, he could have no 
difference about it ; though, as it is usual, when ab- 
stract principles are to be applied, much was to be 
thought on tlie manner of uniting the character of 
citizen and soldier. But as applied to the events 
which had happened in France, where the abstract 
principle was clothed with its circumstances, he 
thought that his friend would agree with him, that 
what was done there furnished no matter of exulta- 
tion, either in the act or the example. These soldiers 
were not citizens, but base, hireling mutineers, and 



mercenary, sordid deserters, wholly destitute of any 
lionorable principle. Their conduct was one of the 
fruits of that anarcliic spirit from the evils of which 
a democracy itself was to be resorted to, by those who 
were the least disposed to that form, as a sort of ref- 
uge. It was not an army in corps and with disciplii-J, 
and embodied under the respectable patriot citizens of 
the state in resisting tyranny. Nothing like it. It was 
the case of conmion soldiers deserting from their offi- 
cers, to join a furious, licentious populace. It was a 
desertion to a cause the real object of which was to 
level all those institutions, and to break all those con- 
nections, natural and civil, that regulate and hold to- 
gether the community by a chain of subordination : 
to raise soldiers against their officers, , 3rvants against 
their masters, tradesmen against their customers, ar- 
■ficers against their employers, tenants against their 
. . dlords, curates against their bishops, and children 
irainst their parents. That this cause of theirs was 
ot an enemy to servitude, but to society. 
He wished the House to consider how the mem- 
bers would like to have their mansions pulled down 
and pillaged, their persons abused, insulted, and 
destroyed, their title-deeds brought out and burned 
before their faces, and themselves and their families 
driven to seek refuge in every nation tliroughout 
Europe, for no other reason than tliis, that, without 
any fault of theirs, they were born gentlemen and 
men of property, and were suspected of a desire to 
preserve their consideration and their estates. Tlie 
desertion in France was to aid an abominable sedi- 
tion, the very professed principle of which was an im- 
placable hostility to nobility and gentry, and who. e 
savage war-whoop was, "^i VArittoerate!" — by which 



senseless, bloody cry they animated one another to 
rapine and murder ; whilst abetted by ambitious men 
of anotlier class, they were crushing everything re- 
spectable and virtuous in their nation, and to their 
power disgracing almost cvory name by which we for- 
merly knew there was sucli a country in the world 
as France. 

He knew too well, and he felt as much as any man, 
liow difficult it was to accommodate a standing army 
to a free constitution, or to any constitution. An 
>rmed disciplined body is, in its essence, dangerous 
V to liberty ; undisciplined, it is ruinous to society. Its 
component parts are hi the latter case neither good 
citizens nor good soldiers. What have they thought 
of in France, under such a difficulty as almost puts 
tho human faculties to a stand ? They have put their 
anny under such a variety of principles of duty, that 
it is more likely to breed litigants, pettifoggers, and 
mutineers than soldiers.* They h. re set up, to bal- 
ance their crown army, another army, deriving under 
another authority, called a municipal army, — a bal- 
ance of armies, not of orders. These latter they have 
.^destroyed with every mark of insult and oppression. 
J j States may, and they will best, exist with a partition 
lof. civil powers. Armies cannot exist under a di- 
vided command. Tiiis state of things he thought 
in effect a state of war, or at best but a truce, in- 
stead of peace, in the country. 

What a dreadful thing is a standing army for the 
conduct of the whole or any part of which no man is 
responsible ! In the present state of tlie French crown 
array, is the crown responsible for the whole of it ? Is 
tiici-e any general who can be responsible for the obe- 
• They are sworn to obey the king, the nation, and the law. 



dience of a brigade, any colonel for that of a regi- 
ment, any captain for that of a company ? And aa 
to the mxmicipal army, reinforced as it is by the new 
citizen j^serters, under whose command are they? 
Have we not seen them, not led by, but dragging, 
their nominal commander, with a rope about his 
neck, when they, or those whom they accompanied, 
proceeded to the most atrocious acts of treason and 
murder? Are any of these armies? Are any of 
these citizens? 

We have in such a difficulty as that of fitting a 
standing army to the state, he conceived, done much 
better. We have not distracted our army by divided 
principles of obedience. We have put them under a 
single authority, with a simple (our common) oath 
of fidelity; and we keep the whole under our annual 
inspection. This was doing ail that could be safely 

He felt some concern that this strange thing called 
a Revolution in Francr should be compar3d with the 
glorious event commonly called the Revolution in 
England, and the conduct of the soldiery on that 
occasion compared with the behav'or of some of the 
troops of France in the present iiistance. At that 
period, the Prince of Orange, a prince of the blood- 
royal in England, was called in by the flower of the 
English aristocracy to defend its ancient Constitution, 
and not to level all distinctions. To this prince, so 
invited, the aristocratic leaders who commanded the 
troops went over with their several corps, in bodies, 
to the deliverer of their covmtry. Aristocratic leaders 
brought up the corps of citizens who neMy enlisted 
in this cause. Military obedience changed its object ; 
but military discipline was not for a moment inter- 





rupted in its principle. The troops were ready for 
war, but indisposed to mutinj. 

But as the conduct of the English armies was dif- 
fbrent, so was that of the whole English nation at 
that time. In truth, the circumstances of our Revo- 
lution (as it is called) and that of France are just the 
reverse of each other in almost every particular, and 
in the whole spirit of the transaction. With us it 
was the case of a legal monarch attempting arbitrary 
power ; in France it is the case of an arbitrary mon- 
arch beginning, from whatever cause, to legalize his 
authority. The one was to be resisted, the other was 
to be managed and directed ; but in neither case was 
the order of the state to be changed, lest government 
might be ruined, which ought only to be corrected 
and legalized. With us we got rid of the man, and 
preserved the constituent parts of the state. Tliere 
they get rid of the constituent parts of the state, and 
keep the man. What we did was in truth and sub- 
stance, and in a constitutional light,^ a revolution, not 
made, but prevented. We took solid securities ; we 
settled doubtful questions; we corrected anomalies 
in our law. In the stable, Aindamontal parts of our 
Constitution we made no revolution, — no, nor any 
alteration at all. We did not impair the monarchy. 
Perhaps it might be shown that we strengthened it 
very considerably. The nation kept the same ranks, 
the same orders, the same privileges, the same fran- 
chises, the same rules for property, the same subordi- 
nations, the same order in the law, in the revenue, 
and in the magistracy, — the same lords, the same 
commons, the same corporations, the same electors. 

The Church was not impaired. Her estates, her 
majesty, her splendor, her orders and gradations, con- 



tinued the same. She was preserved in her full 
efficiency, and cleared only of a certain intolerance, 
which was her weakness and disgrace. The Church 
and the State were the same after the Revolution 
that they were befor«», but better secured in every 

Was little done because a revolution was not made 
in the Constitution ? No ! Everything was done ; be- 
cause we commenced w*r'. reparation, not with ruin. 
Accordingly, the state flourished. Instead of lying 
as dead, in a sort of trance, or exposed, as some 
others, in an epileptic fit, to the pity or derision of 
the world, for her wild, ridiculous, convulsive move- 
ments, impotent to every purpose but tliat of dashing 
out her brains against the pavement. Great Britain 
rose above the standard even of her former self. 
An era of a more improved domestic prosperity then 
commenced, and still continues, not only unimpaired, 
but growing, under the wasting hand of time. All 
the energies of the country were awakened. Eng- 
land never preserved a fiirmer countenance or a 
more vigorous arm to all her eneiries and to all 
her rivals. Europe under her respired and revived. 
Everywhere she appeared as the protector, assertor, 
or avenger of liberty. A war was made and sup- 
ported against fortune itself. The treaty of Ryswick, 
which first limited the power of France, was soon af- 
ter made ; the grand alliance very shortly followed, 
which shook to the foundations tlie dreadful power 
which menaced the independence of mankind. The 
states of Europe lay happy under the shade of a great 
and free monarchy, which knew how to be great with- 
out endangering its own peace at home or the inter- 
nal or external peace of any of its neighbors. 



; • 

. '< 



Mr. Burke said he should have felt very unpleas- 
antlj, if he had not d livercd these sentiments. He 
was near the end of his natural, probably still nearer 
the end of his political career. That he was weak and 
weary, and wished for rest. That he was little dis- 
posed to controversies, or what is called a detailed 
opposition. That at his time of life, if he could not 
do something by some sort of weight of opinion, nat- 
ural or acquired, it was useless and indecorous to at- 
tempt anything by mere struggle. Turpe senex miles. 
That he had for that reason little attended the army 
business, or that of the revenue, or almost any other 
matter of detail, for some years past. ^n^. he had, 
however, his task. He was far from condemning 
such opposition; on the contrary, he most highly 
applauded it, where a just occasion existed for it, 
and gentlemen had vigor and capacity to pursue it. 
Where a great occasion occurred, he was, and, while 
he continued in Parliament, would be, amongst the 
most active and the most earnest, — as he hoped he 
had shown on a late event. With respect to the Con- 
stitution itself, he wished few alterations in it, — hap- 
py if he left it not the worse for any share he had 
taken in its service. 

Mr. Fox then rose, and declared, in substance, 
that, so far as regarded the French army, he wont 
no farther than the general principle, by which that 
army showed itself indisposed to be an instrument 
in the servitude of tlieir fellow-citizens, but did not 
enter into the particulars of their conduct. He de- 
clared that he did not affect a democracy: that he 
always tliouglit any of the simple, unbalanced gov- 
ernments bad: simple monarchy, simple aristocracy, 

T I;- R:^l:t /L>liloJ>U kufui-.i />,;.;;,, Sr.n.tu'i 

Iruni J ,t4v..n 'irawin^, nu,!,- \„ |-s>, j.^ |t.h„ Hu,,ru, K \ . ,„ rh^ 

N-r'"'t«! I'ar^rjir Cjlicrv 





5 ' 









t ■ 



ir ^ 

1 ' 



eimplo dcmocr cy, — ho held ; la al aiMjrfef or 
vicious ; all were bad by theiu-clves , lu cou losi 
tiou alouo was g<«jd. Tli * these li id beta alway <is 
priiK pies, ill wlhch he liad ugreu . vith lii= fricud ^ .r. 
Biiike, — of wlioa he bad said many kiud and tiat- 
teriii_r things, wU^Ji Mr. Uurko, I take it I'ur granted, 
will know himself tou well to think lio luuiits t'roiu 
anytliing but Mr. Foi's acknowledged guud-nature. 
Mr. Fox tliought, liowever, that, in many eases, Mr. 
Bui ke \, i> rather carried Ua> far by his hatred t. in- 

Mr. Burke said, ho well knew that these had been 
Mr. Fox's invariable opiuiuns; tliat ''\<:y wcru a sure 
ground for the confidence ' his co utry. But hv 
had been fearful that caoai, jf ^ i^ diilerent inten- 
tions would be ready to make use of liis grea. amt' 
against hia character and sentiments, in ordi r i de 
rive a credit to their destructive machhiatioiis 

Mr. Sheridan tht . rose, ...d made a lively an l 
yuent sj)cech against Mr. Burke; ia whi-!: ai ..jng 
other things, lio ^u, j that Mr. Burke had ... lied t j 
National Assemfii/ of Fraice. and had ca - ou xr' eu- 
tions on such characters us those of the far jui» de 
La Fayette ; id M; . Bailly. 

Mr, Burke id, that he did not libel the 'i. 
Assembly oi i.''ranoe, whom o considered v 
in tliu discu!r~ion of these matter? That he ^.. 
all tbo subst itiu. puwo resided in V, repui.ic . 
Paris, whose authority guided, or whosse example wa. 
followed by, ail tlie republics of Franc). The republic 
of Paris had an army under their order.-;, and nut 
under those of liio National Assembly. 

N. B. As to lie T ticular gentleme. t ]o uot 
remember that ^Lv. B ke mentioned eitlier oi them. 

A H 




— certainly not Mr. Bailly. He alluded, undoubt- 
edly, to the case of the Marquis de La Fayette ; but 
whether what he asserted of him be a libel on him 
must be left to those who are acquainted with the 

Mr. Pitt concluded the debate with becoming grav- 
ity and dignity, and a reserve on both sides of the 
question, as related to France, fit for a person in a 
ministerial situation. He said, that what he had 
spoken only regarded France whei she should unite, 
which he rather thought she soon might, with the 
liberty she had acquired, the blessings of law and or- 
der. He, too, said several civil things concerning the 
sentiments of Mr. Burke, as applied to this country. 

a. ^ 













IT may not be unnecessary to inform the reader 
that the following Reflections had their origin 
in a correspondence between the autlior and a very 
young gentleman at Paris, who did him the honor of 
desiring his opinion upon the important transactions 
which then, and ever since have, so much occupied 
the attention of all men. An answer was written 
some time in the month of October, 1789 ; but it was 
kept back upon prudential considerations. That let* 
ter is alluded to in the beginning of the following 
sheets. It has been since forwarded to the person to 
whom it was addressed. The reasons for the delay 
in sendhig it were assigned in a short letter to the 
same gentleman. This produced on his part a new 
and pressing application for the author's sentiments- 
The author began a second and more fuU discus- 
sion on the subject. This he had some thoughts of 
publishing early in the last spring ; but the matter 
gaining upon him, he found that what he had under- 
taken not only far exceeded the measure of u letter, 
but that its importance required rather a more de- 
tailed consideration than at that time he had any lei- 
sure to bestow upon it. However having thrown 
down his first thoughts in the form of a letter, and, 
indeed, when he sat down to write, having intended 
it for a private letter, he found it difficult to change 
the form of address, when his sentiments had grown 
into a greater extent and had received another di- 
rection. A ditferent plan, he is sensible, might bo 
more favorable to a commodious division and distri- 
bution of his matter. 


1 11 




DEAR SIR, — You are pleased to call again, and 
with some earnestness, for my thoughts on the 
late proceedings in France. I will not give you rea- 
son to imagine that I thmk my sentiments of such 
value as to wish myself to be solicited about them. 
They are of too little consequence to be very anx- 
iously either communicated or withheld. It was 
from attention to you, and to you only, that I hesi- 
tated at the time when you first desireu to receive 
them. In the first letter I had the honor to write to 
you, and which at length I send, I wrote neither for 
nor from any description of men; nor shall I in tliis. 
My errors, if any, are my own. My reputation alone 
is to answer for them. 

You see, Sir, by the long letter I have transmitted 
to you, that, though I do most heartily wish that 
France may be animated by a spirit of rational lib- 
erty, and that I think you bound, in all honest policy, 
to provide a permanent body in . aich that spirit may 
reside, and an efiectual organ by which it may act, 
it is my misfortune to entertain great doubts con- 
cerning several material points in your late trans- 

You imagined, when you wrote last, that I might 
possibly be reckoned among the approvers of certain 







proceedings iu France, from the solemn public seal 
of sanction they have received from two clubs of gen- 
tlemen in Loudon, called the Constitutional Society, 
and tlie Revolution Society. 

I certainly have the honor to belong to more clubs 
than one in which the Constitution of this kingdom 
and the pi'inciples of the glorious Revolution are 
lield in high reverence ; and I reckon myself among 
the most forward in my zeal for maintaining that 
Constitution and those principles iu their utmost pu- 
rity and vigor. It is because I do so that I think 
it necessary for me that there should be no mistake. 
Those who cultivate the memory of our Revolution, 
and those who are attached to the Constitution of this 
kingdom, will take good care how they are involved 
with persons who, under the pretext of zeal towards 
the Revolution and Constitution, too frequently wan- 
der from their true prmciples, and are ready on 
every occasion to depart from the firm, but cautious 
and deliberate, spirit which produced the one and 
which presides in the other. Before I proceed to an- 
swer the more material particulars iu your letter, I 
shall beg leave to give you such information as 1 
have been able to obtain of the two clubs which have 
thought proper, as bodies, to interfere in the con- 
cerns of France, — first assuring you that I am not, 
and that I have never been, a member of either of 
those societies. 

The first, calling itself the Constitutional Society, 
or Society for Constitutional Information, or by some 
such title, is, I believe, of seven or eight years' stand- 
ing. The institution of this society appears to be of 
a charitable, and so far of a laudable nature : it was 
intended for the circulation, at tlie expense of the 



members, of many books which few others vrould be 
at the expense of buying, and which might lie on 
the hands of tlie booksellers, to the great loss of an 
usefnl body of men. Whether the books so charita- 
bly circulated were ever as charitably read is more 
than I know. Possibly several of them have been 
exported to Prance, and, like goods not in request 
here, may with you have found a market. I have 
heard much talk of the lights to be drawn from books 
that are sent from hence. What improvements they 
have had in their passage (as it is said some liquors 
are meliorated by crossing the sea) I cannot tell ; 
but I never heard a man of common judgment or the 
least degree of information speak a word in praise 
of the greater part of the publications circulated by 
that society; nor have their proceedings been ac- 
counted, except by some of themselves, as of any 
serious conseqxienco. 

Your National Assembly seems to entertain much 
the same opinion that I do of this poor charitable 
club. As a nation, you reserved tlie whole stock of 
your eloquent acknowledgments for tlie Revolution 
Society, when their fellows in the Constitutional 
were in equity entitled to some share. Since you 
have selected the Revolution Society as the great 
object of your national thanks and praises, you will 
think me excusal)le in making its late conduct the 
subject of my observations. The National Assembly 
of France has given importance to these gentlemen 
by adopting them ; and they return the favor by act- 
ing as a committee in England for extending the 
principles of the Naiinal Assembly. Henceforward 
we must consider them as a kind of privileged per- 
sons, as no inconsiderable members in the diplomatio 

l:. \ 


i 9 











body. Tills is one among the revolutions which 
have given splendor to obscurity and distinction to 
undiscerned merit. Until very lately I do not rec- 
ollect to have heard of this club. I am quite sure 
that it never occupied a moment of my thoughts, — 
nor, I believe, those of any person out of their own 
set. I find, upon inquiry, that, on the anniversary 
of the Revolution in 1688, a club of Dissenters, but 
of what denomination I know not, have long had the 
custom of hearing a sermon in one of their churches, 
and that afterwards they spent the day cheerftilly, as 
other clubs do, at the tavern. But I never heard 
that any public measure or political system, much 
less that the merits of the constitution of any foreign 
nation, had been the subject of a formal proceeding 
at their festivals, until, to my inexpressible surprise, 
I found them in a sort of public capacity, by a con 
gratulatory address, giving an authoritative sanc- 
tion to the proceedings of the National Assembly in 

In the ancient principles and condr.ji of the club, 
so far at least as they were declared, I see nothing to 
which I could take exception. I think it very proba- 
ble, that, for some purpose, new members may have 
entered among them, — and that some truly Christian 
politicians, whc love to dispense benefits, but are 
careftil to conceal the hand which distributes the 
dole, may have made them the instruments of their 
pious designs. Whatever I may have reason to sus- 
pect concerning private management, I shall speak 
of nothing as of a certainty but what is public. 

For one, I should be sorry to be thought directly 
or indirectly concerned in their proceedings. I cer- 
tainly take my full share, along with the rest of the 



world, in mj individual and private capacitj, in spec- 
ulating on what has been done, or is doing, on the 
public stage, in any place, ancient or modern, — in the 
republic of Rome, or the republic of Paris ; but hav- 
ing no general apostolical mission, being a citizen of 
a particular state, and being bound up, in a consider- 
able degree, by its public will, I should thmk it at 
least improper and irregular for me to open a formal 
public correspondence with the actual government of 
a foreign nation, without the express authority of the 
government under which I live. 

I should be still more unwilling to enter into 
that correspondence under anything like an equivocal 
description, which to many, unacquainted with our 
usages, might make the address in which I joined ap- 
pear as the act of persons in some sort of corporate 
capacity, acknowledged by the laws of this kingdom, 
and authorized to speak the sense of some part of it. 
On account of the ambiguity and uncertainty of 
unauthorized general descriptions, and of the deceit 
which may be practised under them, and not from 
more formality, the House of Commons would reject 
the most sneaking petition for the most trifling ob- 
ject, under that mode of signature to which you have 
thrown open the folding-doors of your presence-cham- 
ber, and have ushered into your National Assembly 
with as much ceremony and parade, and with as 
great a bustle of applause, as if you had been visited 
by the whole representative majesty of the whole 
English nation. If what this society has thought 
proper to send forth had been a piece of argument, 
it would have signified little whose argument it was. 
It would be neither the more nor the less convincing 
on account of the party it came from. But this is 




'1 I 

• 1 

( I 


M i 




onlj a voto and resolution. It stands solely on au- 
thority ; and in this case it is the mere authority of 
individuals, few of whom appear. Tlioir signatures 
ought, in my opinion, to have been annexed to their 
instrument. The world would then have the means 
of knowing how many they are, who they are, and 
of what value their opinions may be, from their per- 
sonal abilities, from their knowledge, thoir etperi- 
ence, or their lead and authority in this state. To 
me, who am but a plain man, the proceeding looks a 
little too refined and too ingenious ; it has too much 
the air of a political stratagem, adopted for the sake 
of giving, under a high-sounding name, an impor- 
tance to the public declarations of this club, which, 
when the matter came to be closely inspected, tlicy 
did not altogether so well deserve. It is a policy 
that has very much tlie complexion of a fraud. 

I flatter myself that I love a manly, moral, regu- 
lated liberty as well as any gentleman of that society, 
be he wlio he will ; and perhaps I have given as good 
proofs of my attachment to that cause, in the wliole 
course of my public conduct. I think I envy liberty 
as little as they do to any other nation. But I can- 
not stand forward, and give praise or blame to any- 
thii cr whicli relate? to human actions and human 
concerns on a simple view of tlio object, as it stands 
stripped of every lation, in all the nakedness and 
solitude of metaphysical alstraction. Circumstances 
(which witli some gentlemen pass for notliing) give 
in reality to every political principlu its distinguish- 
ing color and discriminating effect. The circum- 
stances are what render every civil and political 
scheme beneficial or noxious to mankind. Abstract- 
edly speaking, government, as well as liberty, is 




good ; yet could I, in common sense, ten years ago, 
have felicitated France on her enjoyment of a gov- 
ernment, (for si then had a government,) without 
inquiry what the nature of that government was, or 
how it was administered ? Can I now congratulate 
the same nation ui)on its freedom ? Is it because 
liberty in the abstract may be classed amongst the 
blessings of mankind, tliat I am seriously to felicitate 
a madman wlio has escaped from the protecting re- 
straint and wholesome darkness of his cell on his 
restoration to the enjoyment of light and liberty? 
Am I to congratulate a higliwayman and murderer 
wlio has broke prison upon tlie recovery of his natu- 
ral rights ? This would be to act over again the 
scene of the criminals condemned to the galfeys, and 
their heroic deliverer, the metaphysic Knight of the 
Sorrowful Countenance. 

When I see the spirit of liberty in action, I see a 
strong principle at work ; and this, for a wliile, is all 
I can possibly know of it. The wild gas, the fixed 
air, is plainly broke loose : but wo ought to suspend 
our judgment until the first cfferve»cei?ce is a little 
subsided, till the liquor is cleared, and until we see 
something deeper than the agitation of a troubled 
and frotliy surface. I must be tolerably sure, before 
I venture publicly to congratulate men upon a bless- 
ing, that they have really received one. Flattery 
corrupts both the receiver and the giver ; and adu- 
lation is not of more service to the people than to 
kings. I should therefore suspend my congratula- 
tions on tlie now liberty of France, until I was in- 
formed how it had been combined with government, 
with public force, with the disciplino and obedience 
of armies, with the collection of an effective and 







I * 



( I 





well-di'strUjuted revenue, with morality anil religion, 
with solidity and property, with peace and order,, 
with civil and social manners. All these (in tlioir 
way) are ji^ood things, too ; and without them, liber- 
ty is not a benefit whilst it lasts, and is not likely 
to continue long. Tlio offect of liberty to individu 
als is, that they may do what they please : wo ought 
to see what it will please them to do, before wo risk 
congratulations, which may be soon turned into com- 
plaints. Pnidence would dictate this in the case of 
separate, insulated, private men. But liberty, when 
men act in bodies, is power. Considerate people, 
before they declare themselves, will observe t! ^ .ise 
which is made oi power, — and partictilarly o*" so try- 
ing a thing as new power in new persons, of v. liose 
principles, tempers, and dispositions they have little 
or no experience, and in situations where tho?o who 
appear the most stirring in the scene may possibly 
not be the real movers. 

All these considerations, however, were below the 
transcendental dignity of the Revolution Society. 
Whilst I continued in the coxintry, from whence I 
had the hom r of writing to you, I had but an im- 
perfect idea of their transactions. On my coming 
to town, I sent for an account of their proceedings, 
which had been published by their authority, con- 
taining a sermon of Dr. Price, with the Duke de 
Rochefoucault's and the Archbishop of Aix's letter 
and several other documents annexed. Tlie wliole 
of that publication, with the manifest design of con- 
necting the affairs of France with those of England, 
by drawing us into an imitation of the conduct 
of the National Assembly, gave me a cc. .^iderable 
degree of uneasiness. The effect of that conduct 



upon the power, credit, proHp«>nty, and tranduillity of 
Prance became every day moro videiit. The form 
of constitution to >>q settled, for its, future fwh y, be- 
came more clear. We are now in ; condiiiou to 
discern with tolerahlo exactness the tr • natur.j of 
the object held up to mir imitation. If the pru>ioiice 
of reserve and deconim dictates silence in i-onio cir- 
cui stances, in others prudence of a higher f.rdor 
may justify us in speaking our tlioughts. T!ie be- 
ginnings of confusion with us in Eiiglan i are at 
pres. it feeble enough; but with you we have seen 
an infancy still more feeble grow ,g by moments 
mto a strength to heap mountains upon mountains, 
and to wage war with Heaven itself. Whenever our 
neighbor's house is on fire, it cannot be amiss for 
the engines to play a little on our own. Bettor to 
be despised for too anxious apprehensions than ru- 
ined by too confident a security. 

Solicitous chiefly for the peace of my own coun- 
try, but by no means unconcerned for yours, I wish 
to communicate more largely what was at first in- 
tended only for your private satisfaction. I shall 
still keeo your affairs in my eye, and continue to 
address myself to you. Indulging myself in the free- 
dom of epistolary intercourse, I beg leave to throw 
out my thoughts and express my feelings just as 
they arise in my mind, with very little attention to 
formal metliod. I set out with the proceedings of 
the Revolution Society ; bn< i shall not confine my- 
self to them. Is it possible I should ? It looks to 
me as if I were in a great crisis, not of the affairs 
of France alone, but of all Europe, perhaps of more 
than Europe. All circumstances taken together, the 
French Revolution is the most astonishing that has 



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hitherto happened in the world. The most wonde^ 
ful things are brought about in many instances by 
means the most absurd and ridiculous, in fhe most 
ridiculous modes, and apparently by the most con- 
temptible instruments. Everything seems out of 
nature in this strange chaos of levity and ferocity, 
and of all sorts of crimes jumbled together with all 
sorts of follies. In viewing this monstrous tragi- 
comic scene, the most opposite passions necessarily 
succeed and sometimes mix with each other in the 
mind : alternate contempt and indignation, alternate 
laughter and tears, alternate scorn and horror. 

It cannot, however, be denied that to some this 
strange scene appeared in quite another point of 
view. Into them it inspired no other sentiments than 
those of exultation and raijture. They saw nothing 
in what has been done in France but a firm and 
temperate exertion of freedom, — so consistent, on 
the whole, with morals and with piety as to make it 
deserving not only of the secular applause of dashing 
Machiavelian politicians, but to render it a fit theme 
for all the devout effusions of sacred eloquence. 

On the forenoon of the fourth of November last, 
Doctor Richard Price, a Non-Conforming minister of 
eminence, preached at the Dissenting meeting-house 
of the Old Jewry, to his club or society, a very ex- 
traordinary miscellaneous sermon, in whicli there are 
some good moral and religious sentiments, and not 
ill expressed, mixed up with a sort of porridge of 
various political opinions and reflections: but the 
Revolution in France is the grand ingredient in the 
caldron. I consider the address transmitted by the 
Revolution Society to tiie National Assembly, through 




Earl Stanhope, as originating in tho principles of tlio 
sermon, and as a corollary from them. It was moved 
by the preacher of that discourse. It was passed by 
those who came reeking from the effect of the ser- 
mon, without any censure or qualification, expressed 
or implied. If, however, any of the gentlemen con- 
cerned shall wish to separate the sermon from the 
resolution, they know how to acknowledge the one 
and to disavow the other. They may do it : I can- 

For my part, I looked on that sermon as the pub- 
lic declaration of a man much connected with liter- 
ary caballers and intriguing philohophers, with po- 
litical tlieologians and theological politicians, both 
at homo and abroad. I know they set him up as 
a sort of oracle ; because, with the best intentions in 
the world, he naturally philippizes, and chants his 
propliotic song in exact unison with their designs. 

That sermon is in a strain which I believe has not 
been heard in this kingdom, in any of the pulpits 
which are tolerated or encouraged in it, since the 
year 1(348, — when a predecessor of Dr. Price, the 
Reverend Hugh Peters, made the vault of the king's 
own chapel at St. James's ring with the honor and 
privilege of the saints, wlio, with the " high praises 
of God in their mouths, and a (a'o-edged sword in 
their hands, were to execute judgment on the hea- 
then, and punishments upon i\\Q people; to bind their 
kings with chains, and their vobles with fetters of 
iron." * Few harangues from the pulpit, except in 
the days of your League in France, or in tlio days of 
our .Solemn League and Covenant in England, have 
ever breathed less of the spirit of moderation than 

* Pb. cxlix. 


i I. 









this lecture in the Old Jewry. Supposing, however, 
that something like moderation were visible in this 
political sermon, yet politics and the pulpit are terms 
that have little agreement. No sound ought to be 
heard in the church but the healing voice of Ciu-is- 
tian charity. The cause of civil liberty and civil gov- 
ernment gains as little as that of religion by this 
confusion of duties. Those who quit their proper 
character to assume what does not belong to them 
are, for the greater part, ignorant both of the cliar- 
acter they leave and of the character they assume. 
Wholly unacquainted with tiie world, in which they 
are so fond of meddling, and inexperienced in all its 
aflfairs, on which they pronounce with so much con- 
fidence, they have nothing of politics but tlie passions 
they excite. Surely the church is a place where one 
day's truce ought to be allowed to the dissensions and 
animosities of mankind. 

This pulpit style, revived after so long a discontin- 
uance, liad to me tlie air of novelty, and of a novelty 
not wholly without danger. I do not charge this 
danger equally to every part of the discourse. The 
hint given to a noble and reverend lay-divine, who is 
supposed high in office in one of our universities,* 
and other lay-divines " of rank and literature," may be 
proper and seasonable, though somewhat new. If the 
noble Seekers should find notliing to satisfy their pious 
fancies in the old staple of the national Church, or 
in all the rich variety to be found in the well-assorted 
warehouses of the Dissenting congregations, Dr. Price 
advises tlioni to improve upon Non-Conformity, and 
to set up, each of them, a separate meeting-house 

• Discourse ot the Love of our Country, Nov. 4, 1789, by Dr. 
Richard Price, 3d edition, p. I' and 18. 



upon his own particular principles.* It is somewhat 
remarkable that this reverend divine should be so 
earnest for setting up new churches, and so perfect- 
ly indifferent concerning the doctrine which may be 
taught in them. His zeal is of a curious character. 
It is not for the propagation of his own opinions, but 
of any opinions. It is not for the diffusion of truth, 
but for the spreading of contradiction. Let the noble 
teachers but dissent, it is no matter from whom or 
from what. Tliis great point once secured, it is 
taken for granted their religion will be rational and 
manly. I doubt whether religion would reap all 
the benefits which the calculating divine computes 
from this " great company of great preachers." It 
would certainly be a valuable addition of nondescripts 
to the ample collection of known classes, genera, and 
species, which at present beautify the hortus siccus of 
Dissent. A sermon from a noble duke, or a noble 
marquis, or a noble earl, or baron bold, would cer- 
tainly increase and diversify the amusements of this 
town, which begins to grow satiated with the uniform 
round of its vapid dissipations. I should only stipu- 
late that these new Mess-Johns in robes and coronets 
should keep some sort of bounds in the democratic 
and levelling principles which are expected from 
their titled pulpits. The new evangelists will, 1 dare 
say, disappoint the hopes that are conceived of them. 
They will not become, literally as well as figuratively, 

• "Those who dislike that mode of worship which is prescribed Uy 
public authority ought, if they can find no worship out of the Church 
which they approve, to sd up a separate worship for themsdres; and by 
doing this, and giving an example of a rational and manly worship, 
men of weight from their rank and literature may do the greatest ser- 
vice to society and the world." — P. 18, Dr. Price's Strmou. 










polemic dirines, — nor be disposed so to drill their con- 
gregations, that they may, as in former blessed times, 
preach their doctrines to regiments of dragoons and 
corps of infantry and artillery. Such arrangements, 
however favorable to the cause of compulsory free- 
dom, civil and religious, may not be equally condu- 
cive to the national tranquillity. These few restric- 
tions I hope are no great stretches of intolerance, no 
very violent exertions of despotism. 

But I may say of our preacher, " Utinam nugis tola 
Ula dedisset tempora scevUioe." All tilings in this his 
fulminating bull are not of so innoxious a tendency. 
His doctrines affect our Constitution m its vital parts. 
He tells the Revolution Society, in this political ser- 
mon, that his Majesty " is almost the onli/ lawful king 
in the world, because the only one who owes his crown 
to the choice of his people." As to the kings of the 
world, all of whom (except one) this arch-pontiff of 
the rights of men, with all the plenitude and with 
more than the boldness of the Papal deposing power 
in its meridian fervor of the twelfth century, puts 
into one f^weeping clause of ban and anathema, and 
proclaims usurpers by circles of longitude and lati- 
tude over the whole globe, it behooves them to con- 
sider how they admit into their territories these 
apostolic missionaries, who are to tell tlieir subjects 
they are not lawful kings. That in tlioir concern. 
It is ours, as a domestic interest of some moment, 
seriously to consider the solidity of the only principle 
upon which these gentlemen acknowledge a king of 
Great Britain to be entitled to their allegiance. 

This doctrine, as applied to the prince now on the 
British thrune, either is nonsense, and therefore nei- 
ther true nor false, or it affirms a most unfounded. 




dangerous, illegal, and uncoastitutional position. Ac- 
cording to this spiritual doctor of politics, if his Maj- 
esty does not owe ids crown to the choice of his 
people, he is no laivful king. Now nothing can be 
more untrue than tliat the crown of this kingdom is 
so held by his Majesty. Therefore, if you follow their 
rule, the king of Great Britain, who most certainly 
does not owe his high office to any form of popular 
election, is in no respect better than the rest of the 
gang of usurpers, who reign, or ratlier rob, all over 
the face of this our miserable world, without any sort 
of right or title to the allegiance of their people. The 
policy of this general doctrine, so qualified, is evident 
enough. The propagators of this political gospel are 
in hopes their abstract principle (tlieir principle that 
a popular choice is necessary to the legal existence 
of the sovereign magistracy) would be overlooked, 
whilst the king of Great Britain was not affected 
by it. In the mean time the ears of their congre- 
gations would be gradually liabituated to it, as if 
it were a first principle admitted without dispute. 
For the present it would only operate as a theory, 
pickled in the preserving juices of pulpit eloquence, 
and laid by for future use. Condo et compono qua: mox 
dcpromere pomm. By this policy, whilst our govern- 
ment is soothed with a reservation in its favor, to 
which it has no claim, the security which it lias in 
common with all governments, so far as opinion is 
security, is taken away. 

Thus these politicians proceed, whilst little notice 
is taken of their doctrines ; but when they come to 
be examined upon the plain meaning of their words 
and the direct tendency of their doctrines, tlieu equiv- 
ocations and slippery constructions come into play. 











When they say the king owes his crown to the choice 
of his people, and is therefore the only lawful sov- 
ereign in the world, they will perhaps tell us they 
mean to say no more than that some of the king's 
predecessors have been called to the throne by some 
sort of choice, and therefore he owes his crown to 
the choice of his people. Thus, by a miserable sub- 
terfuge, they hope to render their proposition safe 
by rendering it nugatory. Tliey are welcome to the 
asylum they seek for their offence, since they take 
refuge in their folly. For, if you admit this inter- 
pretation, how does their idea of election differ from 
our idea of ;'ilieritance ? And how does the settle- 
ment of the crown in the Brunswick line, derived 
from James the First, come to legalize our monarchy 
rather than that of any of the neighboring countries ? 
A.t some time or other, to bo sure, all the beginners 
of dynasties were chosen by those who called them 
to govern. There is ground enough for the opinion 
that all the kingdoms of Europe were at a remote 
period elective, with more or fewer limitations in the 
objects of choice. But whatever kings might have 
been hero or elsewhere a thousand years ago, or in 
whatever manner the ruling dynasties of England or 
France may have begun, the king of Great Britain is 
at this day king by a fixed rule of sncccssion, ac- 
cording to the laws of his country ; and whilst the 
legal conditions of the compact of sovereignty are 
performed by him, (as they are performed,) he holds 
his crown in contempt of the choice of tlie Revolu- 
tion Society, who have not a single vote for a king 
amongst them, either individually or collectively : 
though I make no doubt they would soon erect them- 
selves into an electoral college, if tilings were ripe to 

V '. 




give effect to their claim. His Majesty's heirs and 
successors, each in his time and order, will come to 
the crown with the same contempt of their choice 
with which his Majesty has succeeded to that he 

Whatever may be the success of evasion in explain- 
ing away the gross error of /ace, which supposes that 
his Majesty (though he holds it in concurrence with 
the wishes) owes his crown to the choice of his peo- 
|)le, yet nothing can evade their full, explicit declara- 
tion concerning the principle of a right in the people 
to choose, — which right is directly maintained, and 
tenaciously adhered to. All the oblique insinuations 
concerning election bottom in this proposition, and 
are referable to it. Lest the foundation of the king's 
exclusive legal title should pass for a mere rant of 
adulatory freedom, the political divine proceeds dog- 
matically to assert,* that, by the principles of the 
Revolution, the people of England have acquired 
three fundamental rights, all of which, with him, 
compose one system, and lie together in one short 
sentence: namely, that we have acquired a right 

1. " To choose our own governors." 

2. " To cashier them for misconduct." 

3. " To frame a government for ourselves." 

This new, and iiitlierto unheard-of bill of rights, 
though made in the name of the whole people, be- 
longs to those gentlemen nnd tlicir faction only. 
The body of the people of England have no chare 
in it. They utterly disclaim it. They will resist the 
practical assertion of it with tiieir lives and fortunes. 
They are bound to do so by the laws of their coun- 
try, made at the time of that very Revolution which 
• P. 34, Discourse on the Love of onr Conntry, by Dr. Price. 


4'\P : 








is appealed to in favor of the fictitious rights claimed 
by the society which abuses its name. 

These gentlemen of the Old Jewry, in all their rea- 
ponings on the Revolution of 1688, have a revolution 
which happened in England about forty years before, 
and the late French Revolution, so much before their 
eyes and in their hearts, that they are constantly 
confounding all the three together. It is necessary 
that we should separate what they confound. We 
must recall their erring fancies to the acta of the 
Revolution which we revere, for the discovery of its 
true principles. If the principles of the Revolution 
of 1688 are anywhere to be found, it is in the sfc. t- 
ute called the Declaration of Right. In that most 
wise, sober, and considerate declaration, drawn up 
by great lawyers and great statesmen, and not by 
warm and inexperienced enthusiasts, not one word 
is said, nor one suggestion made, of a general right 
" to clioose our own governors, to cashier them for 
misconduct, and to form a government for our- 

This Declaration of Right (the act of the 1st of 
William and Mary, sess. 2, ch. 2) is the corner-stone 
of our Constitution, as reinfo* ced, explained, improved, 
and in its fundamental principles forever settled. It 
is called " An act for declaring the rights and liber- 
ties of the subject, and for settling the succession of 
the crown." You will observe that these rights and 
this succession are declared in one body, and bound 
indissolubly together. 

A few years after this period, a second opportunity 
offered for asserting a right of electio-i to the crown. 
On the prospect of a total failure of issue from King 
Wil iam, and from the princess, afterwards Queen 



Anne, the consideration of the settlement of the 
crown, and of a further security for the liberties of 
the people, again came before the legislature. Did 
they this second time make any provision for h^gali:.;- 
ing the crown on the spurious Revolution principles 
of the Old Jewry ? No. Tiiey followed the princi- 
ples which prevailed in the Declaration of Right ; in- 
dicating with more precision the persons who woro 
to inherit in the Protestant line. This act also in- 
corporated, by the same policy, our liberties and an 
hereditary succession in the same act. Instead of 
a right to choose our own governors, they declared 
that the succession in that line (the Protcstr nt Wn^ 
drawn from James the First) was absolutely nocossary 
" for the peace, quiet, and security of the realm," and 
that it was equally urgent on them " to maintain a 
certainty in the succession thereof, to which the subjocta 
may safely have recourse for their protection." Both 
these acts, in which are heard the unerring, unambig- 
uous oracles of Revolution policy, instead of counte- 
nancing the delusive gypsy predictions of a " right 
to choose our governors," prove to a demonstration 
how totally adverse the wisdom of the nation was irom 
turning a case of necessity into a rule of law. 

Unquestionably there was at the Revolution, in the 
person of King William, a small and a temporary de- 
viation from the strict order of a regular licicditary 
succession ; but it is against all genuine principles of 
jurisprudence to draw a principle from a law made 
in a special case and regarding an individual person. 
Privilegium non transit in exemplum. If ever there 
was a time favorable for establishing the principle 
that a king of popular choice was the only legal king, 
without all doubt it was at the Revolution. Its not 



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being done at that time is a proof that the nution 
was of opinion it ought not to be done at any time. 
There is no person so completely ignorant of our his- 
tory as not to know that the majority in Parliament, 
of both parties, wore so little disposed to anything re- 
sembling tliat principle, tliat at first they were deter- 
mined to place tlio vacant crown, not on the head of 
the Prince of Orange, but on that of his wife, Mary, 
daughter of King James, the eldest born of the issue 
of that king, which tiiey acknowledged as undoubted- 
ly his. It would be to repeat a very trite story, to 
recall to your memory all those circumstances which 
demonstrated that their accepting King William was 
not properly a choice; but to all those who did not 
wish in effect to recall Kin^ James, or to deluge 
their country in blood, and again to bring tlioir relig- 
ion, laws, and liberties into the peril they had just 
escaped, it was an act of necessity, in the strictest 
moral sense in which necessity can bo taken. 

In the very act in which, for a time, and in a sin- 
gle case, Parliament departed from the strict order 
of inheritance, in favor of a prince who, though not 
next, was, liowever, very near in the line of succession, 
it is curious to observe how Lord Somers, who drew 
the bill called the Declaration of Right, has com- 
ported himself on that delicate occasion. It is cu- 
rious to oI)serve with what address this tcmporrri 
solution of continuity is kept from the eye; wh-M {.'1 
that could be found in this act of necessity to counte- 
nance the idea of an hereditary succession is broutrht 
forward, and fostered, and made tlie most of, by this 
great man, and by the legislature who followed liim. 
Quitting the dry, imperative style of an act oi' Par- 
liament, ho makes the Lords and Commons fall to a 



pious legislative ejaculation, and declare that they 
consider it " as a marvel" jus providence, and merci- 
ful goodness of God to this nation, to preserve tlioir 
said Majesties' royal persons most happily to reign 
over us on the thrane of their anee»tor», for which, 
from the bottom of tlioir liearts, they return their 
humblest thanks and praises." The legislature 
plainly liad in view the Act of Recognition of the first 
of Qucon Elizabeth, chap. 3rd, and of that of James 
the First, chap. Ist, both acts strongly declaratory of 
the inheritable nature of the crown ; and in many 
parts they (bllow, with a nearly literal precision, the 
words, and even the form of thanksgiving which is 
found in those old declaratory statutes. 

The two Houses, in the act of King William, did 
not thank God that they had found a fair opportunity 
to assert a right to choose their own governors, much 
less to make an election the only lawful title to the 
crown. Their having been in a condition to avoid 
the very appearance of it, ai much as possible, was 
by them considered as a providential escape. They 
threw a politic, well-wrought veil over every circum- 
stance tending to weaken the rights whicli in the 
meliorated order of succession they meant to perpet- 
uate, or whicli might fUrnish a precedent for any fu- 
ture departure from wliat they had then settled for- 
ever. Accordingly, that they might not relax the 
nerves of their monarchy, and that they raiglit pre- 
serve a close conformity to the practice of their an- 
cestors, as it appeared in the declaratory statutes 
of Queen Mary* and Queen Elizabeth, in the next 
clause they vest, by recognition, in their Majesties 
aU the legal prerogp'jves of the crown, declaring 

* 1st Mary, «e«a. 3, ch. 1. 


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" that in them they are most fully, rightfully, and 
entirely invested, incorporated, united, and annexed," 
In tlie claueo which follows, for preventing questions, 
by reason of any pretended titles to the crown, they 
dechiio (observing; also in this the traditionary lan- 
guage, along with the traditionary policy of the na- 
tion, and repeating as from a rubric the language 
of the preceding acts of Elizabeth and James) that 
on the preserving " a certainty in the succession 
thereof the unity, peace, and tranquillity of this 
nation doth, under God, wholly depend." 

They knew that a doubtful title of succession 
would but too much resemble an election, and that 
an election would be utterly destructive of the 
" unity, peace, and tranquillity of this nation," which 
they thought to be considerations of some moment. 
To provide for these objects, and therefore to exclude 
forever the Old Jewry doctrine of " a riglit to choose 
our own governors," they follow with a clause con- 
taining a most solemn pledge, taken from the preced- 
ing act of Queen Elizabeth, — as solemn a pledge as 
ever was or can be given in ftivor of an hereditary 
succession, and as solemn a renunciation as could 
be made of the principles by this society imputed 
to them : — " The Lords Spiritual and Temporal, and 
Commons, do, in the name of all the people afore- 
said, most humbly and faithfully submit themselves, 
their heirs, and posterities forever ; and do faithfully 
promise that they will stand to, maintain, and 
defend their said Majesties, and also the limitation 
of the crown, herein specified and contaiued, to the 
utmost of their powers," Ac, &c. 

So far is it from being true that we acquired a 
right by the Revolution to elect our kings, that, if 



we had possessed it before, the English nation did 
at that time most solemnly renounce and abdicate 
it, for themselves, and for all their posterity forever. 
These gentlemen may value themselves as much as 
they please on their Wliig principles; hut I never 
desire to be thought a bett' •• Whig than Lord Som- 
ers, or to understand the jtrinciplcs of the Revolu- 
tion bettor than those by whom it was brought about, 
or to rend in the Declaration of Right any mysteries 
unknown to those whose penetrating style has en- 
graved in our ordinances, and in our hearts, the 
words and spirit of that immortal law. 

It is true, that, aided with the powers derived from 
force and opportunity, the nation was at that time, 
in some sense, free to take what course it pleased for 
filling the throne, — but only free to do so upon the 
same grounds on which they might have wliolly abol- 
ished their monarchy, and every other part of their 
Constitution. However, they did not think such bold 
changes within their commission. It is, indeed, dif- 
ficult, perhaps impossible, to give limits to the mere 
abstract competence of the supreme power, such as 
was exercised by Parliament at that time ; but the 
limits of a moral competence, subjecting, even in 
powers more indisputably sovereign, occasional will 
to permanent reason, and to the steady maxims of 
faith, justice, and fixed fundamental policy, are per- 
fectly intelligible, and perfectly binding upon those 
who exercise any autliority, under any name, or un- 
der any title, in the state. The House of Lords, for 
instance, is not morally competent to dissolve the 
House of Commons, — no, nor even to dissolve itself, 
nor to abdicate, if it would, its portion in the legisla- 
ture of the kingdom. Though a king may abdicate 


'if t 









■ i 

for liis own person, he cannot abdicate for the mon- 
archy. By as strong, or by a stronger reason, the 
House of Commons canmt renouiico its share of au- 
thority. The engagement and pact of society, which 
gcneially goes by the name of the Constitution, for- 
bids sucli invasion and such surrender. The con- 
stituent parts of a state are obliged to hold their 
public faith with each other, and with all those who 
derive any serious interest under their engagements, 
as much as the whole state is bound to keep its ftiith 
with separate communities: otherwise, competence 
and power would soon be confounded, and no law be 
left but the will of a prevailing force. On this prin- 
ciple, the succession of the crown has always been 
what it now is, an hereditary succession by law : in 
the old line it was a succession by the Common Law; 
in the new by the statute law, operating on the prin 
ciples of the Common Law, not changing the sub- 
stance, but regulating the mode and describing the 
persons. Both these descriptions of law are of the 
same force, and are derived from an equal authority, 
emanating from the common agreement and original 
compact of the state, communi spomione reipvblicce, 
and as such are equally binding on king, and people 
too, as long as the terms are observed, and they con- 
tinue the same body politic. 

It is far from impossible to reconcile, if we do not 
suffer ourselves to be entangled in the mazes of mcta- 
physic soiihistry, the use both of a fixed rule and an 
occasional deviation, — the sacredness of an heredita- 
ry principle of succession in our government witli a 
power of change in its application in cases of extreme 
emergency. Even in that extremity, (if we take the 
measure of our rights by our exercise of th- i at the 



Rovolution,") tlic change is to be confined to the poc- 
r.rint part only, — to the part which proihiccd tho nc- 
co«sary doviatiou ; and oven then it is to be clToctcd 
without a decomposition of the whole civil and polite 
ifnl mass, for tho purpose of originating a now civil 
■'.rdor out of the first elements of society. 

A state without the means of some change is wiih- 
out the means of its conservation. Without such 
moans it might even risk the loss ot that part of the 
Constitution which it wished the most religiously to 
preserve. The two principles of conservation and 
correction operated strongly at the two critical peri- 
ods of the Restoration and Revolution, when England 
found it?clf without a king. At both those periods 
the nation had lost the bond of union in their ancient 
edifice : they did not, however, dissolve the whole fii'i- 
ric. On the contrary, in both cases they regenerat- 
ed the deficient part of the old Constitution through 
the parts which were not impaired. They kept these 
old parts exactly as they were, that the part recov- 
ered might be suited to them. They acted by the 
ancient organized states in the shape of their old 
organi7ation, and not by the organic moJeculce of a 
disbanded people. At no time, perhaps, did the sov- 
ereign legislature manifest a more tender regard to 
that fundamental principle of British constitutional 
policy than at the time of the Revolution, when it 
deviated from the direct line of hereditary succession. 
The crown was carried somewhat out of the line in 
which it had before moved ; but the new line was 
derived from the same stock. It was still a line of 
hereditary descent; still an hereditary descer.t m the 
same blood, though an hereditary descent qualified 
with Protestantism. When the legislature altered 






the direction, but kept the principle, they sliowed 
that they held it inviolable. 

On this principle, the law of inheritance had ad- 
mitted some amendment in the old time, and long 
before the era of the Rovolu ion. Some time after 
the Conquest great questions arose upon the legal 
principles of hereditary descent. It became a matter 
of doubt whether the heir per capita or the heir per 
utirpes was to succeed ; but wlK-thcr the heir per cap- 
ita gave way when the heirdom per stirpes took place, 
or the Catholic heir when the Protestant was pre- 
ferred, the inheritable principle survived with a sort 
of immortality through all transmigrations, — 

Multosque per annos 
Stat fortuna domfls, et avi numcrantur avorum. 

This is the spirit of our Cmstitution, not only in its 
settled course, but in all its revolutions. Whoever 
came in, or however he came in, whether he obtained 
the crown by law or by force, the hereditary succes- 
sion was either continued or adopted. 

The gentlemen of the Society for Revolutions see 
nothing in that of 1G88 biit the deviation from the 
Constitution ; and they take the deviation from the 
principle for tlie principle. They hpve little regard 
to the obvious consequences of their doctrine, though 
they may see that it leaves positive authority in very 
few of the positi\'e institutions of this country. When 
such an unwarrantable maxim is once established, 
tliat no throne is lawful but the elective, no one act 
of the princes who preceded this era of fictitious elec- 
tion can be valid. Do these theorists mean to imitate 
some of their predecessors, who dragged tlie bodies 
of our ancient sovereigns out of the quiet of their 
tombs ? Do they mean to attaint a.nd disable back- 



wards all the kings that have roigned before tho 
Revolution, and consequently to stain the throne of 
Enjiland with the blot of a continual usurpation? 

11 ■ 

Do they mean to invalidate, aiuiul, or to call nito 
question, together with tho titles of tho whole line 
of our kings, that great body of our statute law whicli 
passed under those whom they treat as \isurpers ? to 
annul laws of inestimable value to our liberties, — of 
as great value at least as any which have passed at 
or siuce the period of tho Revolution ? If kings who 
did not owe their crown to tho choice of tlieir people 
had no title to mako laws, what will become of the 
statute J)e tallagio non concedeudo ? of the Petition of 
Right? of the act of Habeas Corpus? Do these new 
doctors of the rights c' men presume to assort that 
King James the Second, who came to the crown as 
next of l)lood, according to the rules of a then un- 
qualified succession, was not to all intents and pur- 
poses a lawful king of England, before he ha<' 
any of those acts which were justly construeu ...lo 
an abdication of his crown ? If he was not, much 
trouble in Parliament might have been saved at tho 
period these gentlemen commemorate. But King 
James was a bad king with a good title, and nut 
an usurper. The princes who succeeded according 
to the act of Parliament which settled the crown on 
the Electrcss Sophia and r- her dcscondanis, being 
Protestants, came in as nmch by a title of inheri- 
tance as King James did. He came in according 
to the law, as it stood at his accession to the crown ; 
and the princes of tlie House of Brunswick came to 
tho inheritance of the crown, not by election, but by 
the la/, as it stood at their several accessions, of 
Protestant descent and inheritance, as i hope I havo 
shown sufficiently. 







The law by which this royal family is spccilically 
destined to the succession is the act of tlie li'tli and 
loth of King William. The terms of this act bind 
" us, and our heirs, and our poaterity, to them, their 
heirs, and their posterity," being Protestants, to the 
end of time, in the same words as the Declaration 
of Right had bound us to the heirs of King William 
and Queen Mary. It therefore secures both an hered- 
itary crown and an hereditary allegiance. On what 
ground, except the constitutional policy of forming 
an establishment to secure that kind of succession 
which is to preclude a choice of the people forever, 
could the legislature have fastidiously rejected the 
fair and abundant choice which our own country 
jiresentcd to tliem, and searched in strange lands 
for a foreign princess, from whose womb the line of 
our future rulers were to derive their title to govern 
millions of men through a series of ages ? 

The Princess Sophia was named in the act of set- 
tlement of the 12th and 13th of King William, for 
a stock and root of inheritance to our kings, and not 
fur her merits as a temporary administratrix of a 
power wiiich she might not, and in fact did not, her- 
self ever exercise. She was adopted for one reason, 
and for one only, — because, says the act, " tlie most 
excellent Princess Sopliia, Electress and Duchess 
Dowager of Hanover, is daughter of the most ex- 
cellent Princess Elizabeth, late Queen of Bohemia, 
daujhter of our late sovereign lord King James the 
First, of happy memory, and is hereby declared to be 
the next in succession in the Protestant line," &c., 
&c. ; " and the crown shall continue to the heirs of 
her body, being Protestants." This limitation was 
made by Parliament, that through the Prince- s 



Sophia an inheritable lino not only was to bo con- 
tinued in future, but (what they thought very ma- 
terial) that through her it was to be connoeted with 
the old stock of inlieritance in King James the First ; 
in order that the monarchy might preserve an un- 
broken unity tlirough all ages, and might be preserved 
(with safety to our religion) in the old approved mode 
by descent, in which, if our liberties had been once 
endangered, they had often, through all storms and 
struggles of prerogative and privilege, been preserved. 
"1" 'V ('Id well. No experience has taught us that 
. ler course or method than that of an hervJi- 
'•;• our liberties can be regularly perpetuated 
ocrve''. sacred as our hereditary riyht. An ir- 
reguiar, co ulsive movement may be necessary to 
throw off an irregular, convulsive disease. Dut the 
course of succession is the healthy habit of -he Brit- 
ish Constitution. Was it that the legislature want- 
ed, at the act for the limitation of the crown in the 
Hanoverian line, drawn through the female descend- 
ants of James the First, a due sense of the incon- 
veniences of haiing two or three, or possibly more, 
foreigners in succession to the British throne ? No ! 
— they had a due sense of the evils wliich might 
happen from such foreign rule, and more than a due 
sense of them. But a more decisive proof cannot 
be given of the full conviction of the British nation 
that the principles of the Revolution did not author- 
ize them to elect kings at their pleasure, and without 
any attention to the ancient fundamental principles 
of our government, than their continuing to adopt 
a plan of hereditary Protestant succession in the old 
line, with all the dangers and all the inconveniences 
of its being i foreign line full before their eyes, 






; i 
, 1 1 





and operating with tho utmost forca upon their 

A few years ago I should be ashani 1 to over- 
load a matter so capable of supporting itself by tlie 
then unnecessary support of any argument ; but this 
seditious, unconstitutional doctrine is now publicly 
taught, avowed, and printed. The dislike I feel to 
revolutions, tho signals for which have so often been 
given from pulpits, — the spirit of change that is gone 
abroad, — the total contempt which prevails with you, 
and may come to prevail with us, of all ancient insti- 
tutions, when sot in opposition to a present sense of 
convenience, or to tlie bent of a present inclination, — 
all the^c considerations make it not iinadvisable, iu 
my opinion, to call back our attention to the true prin- 
ciples of our own domestic laws, that you, my French 
friend, sliould begin to know, and that we should 
continue to cherish them. Wo ought not, on either 
fide of the water, to suffer ourselves to be imposed 
upon iiy tlio counterfeit wares which some persons, 
by a double fraud, export to you in illicit bottoms, 
as raw commodities of British growth, though wholly 
alien to our soil, in order afterwards to smuggle them 
back again into this country, manufactured alter tho 
newest Paris fashion of an improved liberty. 

The people of England will not ape the fashions 
they have never tried, nor go back to lliose wliich 
they have found mischievous on trial. They look up- 
on the legal hereditary succession of thoir crown as 
among their rights, not as among their wrongs, — as 
a benefit, not as a grievance, — as a security for tiieir 
liberty, not as a badge of servitude. They look on 
the frame of their commonwealth, such o' it stands, 
to be of inestimable value; and they conceive the 




undisturbed succession of tlio crown to bo a pledge 
of tiic stability and perpetuity of all tbo otber mem- 
bers of our Constitution. 

I sball beg leave, before I go any furtber, to take 
notice of some paltry artifices wliicli tbo abettors of 
election as tbe only lawful titlo to tlio crown aro 
ready to employ, in order tc render tbo sup|)ort of 
tlie just principles of our Constitution a tasic some* 
wbat invidious, 'ibeso sopbisters substitute a ficti- 
tious cause, and feigned {jcrsonagcs, in wboso favor 
tbey g se you engaged, wbonever you defend tbo 
inberituu.o nature of tlie crown. It is common witli 
tbem to dispute as if tbey were in a conflict witb tome 
of tbose exploded fanatics of slavery wbo formerly 
maintained, what I believe no creature now main- 
tains, " tbat tlie crown is beld by divine, bcrcditary, 
and indefeasible rigbt." Tiieso old fanatics of single 
arbitrary power dogmatized as if hereditary royalty 
was tbe only lawful government in tbe world, — just 
as our new fanatics of popular arbitrary power main- 
tain tbat a popular eh tion is the sole lawful source 
of authority. The old prerogative enthusia:-ts, it is 
true, did speculate foolishly, aid p<;rhai)s impiously 
too, as if monarchy Jiad more of a divine sanction 
than any otber mode of government, — and as if a 
right to govern by inheritance were in strictness in- 
ihfeaxihlc ill every person who should be found in the 
succession to a throne, and under every circum- 
stance, which no civil or political right can be. But 
an absurd opinion concerning the king's hereditary 
riglit to tlie crown does not prejudice one tliat is ra^ 
tional, and bottomed upon solid principles of law and 
policy. If all the absurd tlieories of lawyers and di- 
vines Wi^re to vitiate the objects ui wliicb they are con- 





vorsant, wo should hnvo no Ifiw and no religion left 
in th< Torld. But an absurd theory on ono sido of u 
quosti(,ii .orms no justification for ulkging a false fact 
or p.omulgating mischievous maxims on the other. 

Tho second claim of the Revolution Society is " a 
right of cashiering thoir governors for muconduct." 
Perhaps tho apprehensions our ancestors entertained 
of forming such a precedent as that " of cashiering 
for misconduct " was the cause that the declaration 
of tho act which implied tho abdication of Kin^ 
James was, if it had any fault, rather too guarded 
and too circumstantial.* But all this guard, and all 
this accumulation of circumstances, serv»!s to show tlio 
spirit of csiUtion which predominated in the national 
councils, in a situation in which men irritated by oj>- 
pression, and elevated by a triumph over it, are apt 
to abandon themselves to violewt and extreme courses; 
it shows the anxiety of tlK af men who influenced 
the conduct of affairs at tiiat great event to make 
the Revolution a parent of settlement, and not a ntir- 
sery of future revolutions. 

No government could stand a moment, if it could 
be blown down with anything so loose and indefi- 
nite as an opinion of '■''misconduct" Tiiey who led at 
the Revolution grounded their virtual abdicntion of 
King James upon no such light and uncertain prin- 
ciple. They charged him with nothing less than a 
design, confirmed by a multitude of illegal overt acts, 

• " That Kinjr James tho Second, having endeavored to snhvert the 
Constitution of the kingdom, hy breaking the orir/inal contract between 
king and jitople, and, by the advice of Jesuits and other wicked per- 
sons, having violated thu fiimhmental laws, and Jiaring irithdrmni liim- 
nfl/oiit of the kingdom, liath abdicated the government, and the throne 
is thereby vacant." 

• •i 



to $uhvert the Protestant < .arch and State, and their 
fundamental, uiiqucstionablo laws and liberties : thoy 
chari^od him with having broken tlio original contract 
between iiing and people. This was more tlian nm- 
conduct. A grave and overruliiig necesssity obliged 
them to take the step they took, and took with infi- 
nite relnctaneo, as under tliat most rigorous of all 
laws. Tlieir trust for the future preservation of the 
Constitution was not in future revolutions. The 
grand policy of all th'ir regulations wa« to render it 
almost inipracticaljle for any future soverc^i to com- 
pel tI>o states of the kingdom to have again rcoc-urso 
to those violent remedies. They left tl o cruw', 
what in the eyo and estimation of law it haa ever 
been, perfectly irresponsible. In o' i . to lighti i '!ie 
crown still further, they aggravated . . ponsibility on 
ministers of state. By the statute of the first of 
King William, sess. 2d, called " the act for declaring 
the rights and liberties of the suhject, and for nettling 
the succession of the crown,^' they enacted that the 
ministers should serve the crown on the terms of 
that declaration. They secured soon after the fre- 
quent meetings of Parliament, by which the whole 
government would be under the constant inspection 
and active control of the popular reprcsentati"e and 
of tlie magnates of the kingdom. In the nc^t great 
constitutional act, that "le 12th and 13th of King 
William, lor the furtlier aitation of the crown, and 
better securing the ri^ nts and liberties of the subject, 
they provided " that no pardon under the great seal of 
England should be pleadable to an impeachment by 
tlie Commons in Parliament." The rule laid down 
for government in the Declaration of Right, the con- 
stant inspection of Parliament, the practical claim of 






impeachment, they thought infinitely a better security 
not only for their constitutional liberty, but agaii>.<t 
the vices of administration, tlian the reservation of a 
right so difficult in the practice, so uncertain in the 
isiue, and often so mischievous in the consequences, 
as that " cashiering their governors." 

Dr. Price, in this sermon,* condemns, very proper- 
ly, the practice of gross adulatory addresses to kings. 
Instead of this fulsome style, he proposes that his 
Majesty should be told, on occasions of congratula- 
tion, that " he is to consider liimself as more properly 
the servant than the sovereign of his people." For 
a compliment, this new form of address docs not 
seem to be very soothing. Those who are servants 
in name, as well as in effect, do not like to bo told 
of their situation, their duty, and their obligations. 
The slave in the old play tells his master, " Hcec com- 
memoratio est quasi exprohratioy It is not pleasant 
as compliment; it is not wholesome as instruction. 
After all, if the king wore to bring himself to echo 
this new kind of address, to adopt it in terms, and 
even to take the appellation of Servant of the People 
as his royal style, how either he or we should be 
much mended by it I cannot imagine. I have seen 
very assuming letters signed, " Your most obedient, 
humble servant." The proudest domination that ev- 
er was endured on earth took a title of still greater 
humility than that which is now proposed for sover- 
eigns by tlie Apostle of Liberty. Kings and nations 
were trampled upon by the foot of one calling him- 
self "The Servant of Servants"; and mandates for 
deposing sovereigns were sealed with the signet of 
" The Fisherman." 

• P. 22, 23, 24. 




I should have considered all this as no more than 
a sort of flippant, vain discourse, in which, as in an 
unsavory fume, several persons suffer the spirit of 
liberty to evaporate, if it were not plainly in support 
of the idea, and a part of the scheme, of " cashiering 
kings for misconduct." In that light it is worth 
some observation. 

Kings, in one sense, are undoubtedly the servants 
of the people, because their power has no other ra- 
tional end than that of the general advantage ; but it 
is not true that they are, in the ordinary sense, (by 
our Constitution, at least,) anything lilce servants, — 
the essence of whose situation is to obey the (!on> 
mands of some other, and to be removable at pleas- 
ure. But the king of Great Britain obeys no other 
person ; all other persons are individually, and col- 
lectively too, under him, and owe to him a legal obe- 
dience. The law, which knows neither to flatter nor 
to insult, calls this high magistrate, not our servant, 
as this humble divine calls him, hut " our sovereign 
lord the king " ; and we, on our parts, have learned 
to s[)eak only the primitive language of tlie law, and 
not the confused jargon of their Babylonian i)ulpits. 

As he is not to obey us, but we are to obey the law 
in him, our Constitution has made no sort of provis- 
ion towards rendering him, as a servant, in any de- 
gree responsible. Our Constitution knows notliing of 
a magistrate like the Jnsticia of Aragon, — nor of any 
court legally appointed, nor of any j)rocess legally 
fcettled, for submitting the king to the responsiliility 
belonging to all servants. In this he is not distin- 
guished from the commons and the lords, who, in 
their several public capacities, can never bo called 
to an account for their conduct ; although the Revo- 





i ' 

hition Society chooses to assert, in direct opposition to 
one of tlie wisest and most beautiful parts of our Con- 
stitution, that " a king is no more tlian tlie first ser- 
vant of the public, created by it, and responsible to it." 

Ill would our ancestors at the Revolution have 
deserved their fame for wisdom, if they had found 
no security for their freedom, but in rendering their 
government feeble in its operations and precarious in 
its tenure, — if they had been able to contrive no 
better remedy against arbitrary power than civil con- 
fusion. Let these gentlemen state who that represen- 
tative public is to whom they will affirm the king, as 
a servant, to be responsible. It will be then time 
enough for rae to produce to them the positive stat- 
ute law which affirms that he is not. 

Tlie ceremony of cashiering kings, of which these 
gentlemen talk so much at their ease, can rarely, if 
ever, be performed without force. It then becomes a 
case of war, and not of constitution. Laws are com- 
manded to hold their tongues amongst arms ; and 
tribunals fall to the ground with the peace they are no 
longer able to uphold. The Revolution of 1688 was 
obtained by a just war, in the only case in which any 
war, and much more a civil war, can be just. '''■Junta 
hella quibus necessaria." The question of dethron- 
ing, or, if these gentlemen like the phrase better, 
" cashiering kings," will always be, as it has always 
been, an extraordinary qtiestion of state, and wholly 
out of the law : a question ( like all other questions 
of state) of dispositions, and of means, and of proba- 
ble consequences, rather than of positive rights. As 
it was not made for common abuses, so it is not to be 
agitated by common minds. The speculative lino of 
demarcation, where obedience ouglit to end and re- 



sistanco must begin, is faint, obscure, and not easily 
definable. It is not a single act or a single event 
which determines it. Governments must be abus- 
ed and deranged indeed, before it can be thought of; 
and the prospect of the future must be as bad as 
the experience of the past. When things are in that 
lamentable condition, the nature of the disease is to 
indicate the remedy to those whom Nature has quali- 
fied to administer in extremities this critical, ambigu- 
ous, bitter potion to a distempered state. Times and 
occasions and provocations will teach their own les- 
sons. The wise will determine from the gravity of 
the case ; the irritable, from sensibility to oppression ; 
the high-minded, from disdain and indignation at 
abusive power in unworthy hands; the brave and 
bold, from the love of honorable danger in a generous 
cause : but, with or without right, a revolution will be 
the very last resource of the thinking and the good. 

Tlie third head of right asserted by the pulpit of 
the Old Jewry, namely, the " right to form a gov- 
ernment for ourselves," has, at least, as little counte- 
nance from anything done at the Kevolution, either 
in precedent or principle, as the two first of their 
claims. The Revolution was made to preserve our 
ano'mt indisputable laws and liberties, and that a7i- 
cievt constitution of government which is our only 
security for law and liberty. If you are desirous of 
knowing the spirit of our Constitution, and the policy 
whicli predominated in that great period wliicli lias 
secured it to this hour, pray look for both in our his- 
tories, in our records, in our acts of Parliament and 
journals of Parliament, and not in the sermons of the 
Old Jewry, and the after-dinner toasts of the Revolu- 


<!f fl 








; t 

tiou Socioiy. In the former you will find other ideas 
and another language. Such a claim is as ill-suited 
to our temper and wishes as it is unsupported by any 
appearance of authority. Tlie very idea of the fabri- 
cation of a ne\r government is enough to fill us with 
disgust and horror. We wished at the period of tlie 
Revolution, and do now wish, to derive all we possess 
as an inheritance from our forefathers. Upon tliat 
body and stock of inheritance we have taken care 
not to inoculate any scion alien to the nature of the 
original plant. All the reformations we have hithoi-to 
made have proceeded upon the principle of reference 
to antiquity ; and I hope, nay, I am persuaded, that 
all tliose which possibly may bo made hereafter will 
be carefully formed upon analogical precedent, au- 
thority, and example. 

Our oldest reformation is that of Magna Charta. 
You will see that Sir Edward Coke, that great ora- 
cle of our law, and indeed all the great men who fol- 
low him, to Blackstone,* are industrious to prove the 
pedigree of our liberties. They endeavor to prove 
that tho ancient charter, the Magna Charta of King 
John, was connected with another positive charter 
from Henry the First, and that botli the one and the 
other were nothing more than a reaffirmance of the 
still more ancient standing law of the kingdom. In 
the matter of fact, for the greater part, these authors 
appear to be in the riglit ; perhaps not always : but 
if tlio lawyers mistake in some particulars, it proves 
my position still the more strongly ; because it de- 
monstrates the powerful prepossession towards anti- 
quity with which the minds of all our lawyers and 
legislators, and of all the people wliom thr- wish to 

* See Blackstonc's Magna Charta, printed at Oxford, 1739. 




influence, have been always filled, and the station- 
ary policy of this kingdom in considering their most 
sacred rights and franchises as an inhrritance. 

In the famous law of the 3rd of Charles the First, 
called the Pifhion of Right, the Parliament says to 
the king, " Your subjects have inherited tliis fioe- 
dom " : claiming thoir franchises, not on abstract prin- 
ciples, " as the rights of men," but as the rights 
of Englishmen, and as a patrimony derived from 
their forefathers. Selden, and the other profoundly 
learned men who drew this Petition of Eight, were 
as well acquainted, at least, with all the general theo- 
ries concerning the " rights of men " as any of the 
discoursers in our pulpits or on your tribune: full 
as well as Dr. Pvicv., or as the Abb^ Sieyes. But, for 
reasons worthy of that practical wisdom which, su- 
perseded their theoretic science, they preferred this 
positive, recorded, hereditary i\*\Q to all which can be 
dear to the man and the citizen to that vague, specu- 
lative right which exposed thei.' sure inheritance to 
be scrambled for and torn to pieces by every wild, 
litigious spirit. 

The same policy pervades all the laws which have 
since been made for the preservation of our liberties. 
In the 1st of William and Mary, in the famous stat- 
ute called the Declaration of Right, the two Houses 
utter not a syllable of " a right to frame a govern- 
ment for themselves." You will see that their whole 
care was to secure the religion, laws, and liitertics 
that had been long possessed, and bad been lately 
endangered. "Taking* into their most serious con- 
sideration the best means for making such an estab- 
lishment that their religion, laws, and liberties might 



I 't 



• 1 W. and M. 








i t' 


'■*] t M 

not be in danger of being again subverted,' Jicy aus- 
picate all their proceedings by stating as some of 
those best means, " in the first place" to do " as their 
ancestors in like cases have usually done for vindicat- 
ing their ancient rights and liberties, to declare " ; — 
and then they pray the king and queen " that it may 
be declared and enacted that all and singular the 
rights and liberties asserted and declared are the true 
ancient and indubitable rights and liberties of tl:o jieo- 
plo of this kingdom." 

You will observe, that, from Magna Charta to the 
Declaration of Right, it has been the uniform policy 
of our Constitution to claim and assert our liberties 
as an entailed inheritance derived to us from our fore- 
fathers, and to be transmitted to lur posterity, — as an 
estate specic'ly belonging to the people of this king- 
dom, without haj reference whatever to any other 
more general or prior right. By this means our Con- 
stitution preserves an unity in so great a diversity of 
its parts. We have an inheritable crown, an inheri^ 
able peerage, and a House of Commons and a peo- 
ple inheriting privileges, franchises, and liberties from 
a long line of ancestors. 

This policy appears to me to be the result of pro- 
found reflection, — or rather the happy effect of follow- 
ing Nature, which is wisdom without reflection, and 
above it. A spirit of innovation is generally the re- 
sult of a selfish temper and confined views. People 
will not look forward to posterity, who never look 
backward to their ancestors. Besides, the people of 
England w^ell know that the idea of inheritance fur- 
nishes a sure principle of conservation, and a sure 
principle of transmission, without at all excluding a 
principle of improvement. It leaves acquisition free ; 



btit it secures what it acquires. Wliatever advan- 
tages are obtained by a state proceeding on these 
maxims are locked fast as in a sort of family set- 
tlement, grasped as in a kind of mortmain forever. 
By a constitutional policy working after tho pattern 
of Nature, we receive, we hold, we transmit our gov- 
ernment and our privileges, '.i the same manner i » 
which we enjoy and transmit our property and our 
lives. The institutions of policy, the goods of for- 
tune, the gifts of Providence, are handed down to 
us, and from us, in the same course and order. Our 
political system is placed in a just correspondence 
and symmetry with the order of the world, and with 
the mode of existence decreed to a permanent body 
composed of transitory parts, — wherein, by the dispo- 
sition of a stupendoiis wisdom, moulding together the 
great mysterious incorporation of the human race, the 
whole, at one time, is never old or middle-aged or 
young, but, in a condition of unchangeable constancy, 
moves on through the varied tenor oi perpetual do- 
cay, fall, renovation, and progression. Thus, by pre- 
serving the method of Nature in the conduct of the 
state, in what we improve we are never wholly new, 
in what we retain we are never wholly obsolete. By 
adhering in this manner and on those principles to 
our forefathers, we are guided, not by the superstition 
of antiquarians, but by the spirit of philosophic anal- 
ogy. In this choice of inheritance we have given to 
our frame of polity the image of a relation in blood : 
biiidivg up the Constitution of our country with our 
dearest domestic ties ; adopting out fundamental laws 
into the bosom of oiir family affections ; keeping in- 
separable, and cherishing with the warmth of all their 
coraliincd and mutually reflected charities, our state, 
our hearths, our sepulchres, and our altars. 















Through the sr'me plan of a conformity to Nature 
in our artificial institutions, and by calli.ig in the aid 
of lier unerring and powerful instincts to fortify the 
fallible and feeble contrivances of our reason, we 
have derived several other, and those no small bene- 
fits, from considering our liberties in the liglit of an 
inheritance. Always acting as if in the presence of 
cu, ionized forefatliers, the spirit of freedom, leading 
in itself to misrule and excess, is tempered with an 
awful gravity. This idea of a liberal descent inspires 
us with a sense of habitual native dignity, which pre- 
vents that upstart insolence almost inevitably adher- 
ing to and disgracing those who are the first acquirers 
of any distinction. By this means our liberty becomes 
a noble freedom. It carries an imposing and majestic 
aspect. It has a pedigree and illustrating ancestors. 
It has its bearings and its ensigns armorial. It has 
its gallery of portraits, its monumental inscriptions, 
its records, evidences, and titles. We procure rever- 
ence to our civil institutions on the principle upon 
which Nature teaches us to revere individual men : 
on account of their age, and on account of those from 
whom they are descended. All your sophisters can- 
not produce anything better adapted to preserve a 
rational and manly freedom than the course .Iiat 
we have pursued, who have chosen our nature ratiier 
than our speculations, our breasts rather than our in- 
ventions, for the great conservatories and magazines 
of our rights and privileges. 

You might, if you pleased, have profited of our ex- 
ample, and have given to your recovered freedom a 
correspondent dignity. Your privileges, though dis- 
continued, were not lost to memory. Your Consti- 



tutioii, it is true, whilst you were out of possession, 
guffered waste and dilapidation ; but you possessed 
in some parts the walls, and in all the foundations, 
of a noble and venerable castle. You might have 
repaired those walls ; you might have built on those 
old foundations. Your Constitution was suspended 
before it was perfected ; but you had the elements of 
a Constitution very nearly as good as could be wished. 
In your old states you possessed that variety of parts 
corresponding with the various descriptions of wliich 
your community was happily composed ; you had all 
tlu't combination and all that opposition of interests, 
you had that action and counteraction, which, in the 
natural and in the political world, from the recip- 
rocal struggle of discordant powers draws out the 
harmony of the universe. These opposed and con- 
flicting interests, which you considered as so great a 
blemish in your old and in our present Constitution, 
interpose a salutary check to all precipitate reso- 
lutions. They render deliberation a matter, not of 
choice, but oi necessity ; they make all change a sub- 
ject of compromise, which naturally begets moderation ; 
they produce temperaments, preventing the sore evil of 
harsh, crude, unqualified reformations, and rendering 
all the headlong exertions of arbitrary power, in the 
few or in the many, forever impractiaable. Through 
that diversity of members and interests, general liber- 
ty had as many securities as there were separate views 
in the several orders; whilst by pressing down the 
whole by the weight of a real monarchy, the separate 
parts would have been prevented from warping and 
starting from their allotted places. 

You had all these advantages in your ancient 
states ; but you chose to act as if you had uevei 








been moulded into civil society, and had everything 
to begin anew. You began ill, because you began by 
despising everything that belonged to you. You set 
up your trade without a capital. If the last genera- 
tions of your country appeared witliout much lustre 
in your eyes, you miglit have passed them by, and 
derived your claims from a more early race of ances- 
tors. Under a pious predilection for those ances- 
tors, ycur imaginations would have realized in them 
a standard of virtue and wisdom beyond the vulgar 
practice of the hour ; and you would have risen with 
th>i f^xample to whose imitation you aspired. Respect- 
ing your forefathers, you would have been taught to 
respect yourselves. You would not have chosen to 
consider the French as a people of yesterday, as a 
nation of low-born, servile wretches until the eman- 
cipating year of 1789. In order to furnish, at the 
expense of yo.T honor, an excuse to your apologists 
liure for several enormities of yours, you would not 
have been content to be represented as a gang of Ma- 
roon slaves, suddenly broke loose from the house of 
bondage, and tliereforo to be pardoned for your abuse 
of the liberty to which you were not accustomed, and 
were ill fitted. Would it not, my worthy friend, liave 
been wiser to have you thought, what I for one al- 
ways thought you, a generous and gallant nation, 
long misled to your disadvantage by your higli and 
romantic sentiments of fidelity, honor, and loyalty ; 
that events had been unfovorable to you, but tliat 
you were not enslaved tlirough any illiberal or servile 
disposition ; that, in your most devoted submission, 
you were actuated by a principle of public spirit; and 
that it was your country you worshipped, in tlie per- 
son of your liing ? Had you made it to be under 




stood, that, in the delusion of this amiable error, yon 
had gone further than your wise ancestors, — that you 
wore resolved to resume your ancient privileges, whilst 
you preserved the spirit of your ancient and your re- 
cent loyalty and honor ; or if, difiident of yourselves, 
and not clearly discerning the almost obliterated Con- 
stitution of your ancestors, you haJ looked to your 
neighbors in this land, who had kept alive tlic ancient 
principles and models of tine old common law of Eu- 
rope, meliorated and adapted to its present state, — 
by following wise examples you would have given 
new examples of wisdom to the world. You would 
have rendered the cause of liberty venerable in tlio 
eyes of every worthy mind in every nation. You 
would have sliamed despotism from the earth, by 
8howir<? that freedom was not only reconcilable, but, 
as, when veil disciplined, it is, auxiliary to law. You 
would have had an unoppressive, but a productive rev- 
enue. You would have had a flourishing commerce 
to feed it. You would have had a free Constitution, 
a potent monarchy, a disciplined army, a reformed 
and venerated clergy, — a mitigated, but spirited nobil- 
ity, to lead your virtue, not to overlay it ; you would 
have had a liberal order of commons, to emulate and 
to recruit that nobility ; you would have liad a protect- 
ed, satisfied, laborious, and obedient people, taught to 
seek and to recognize the happiness tha*^ ' ^ be found 
by virtue in all conditions, — in which the true 

moral equality of mankind, and not in .0 monstrous 
fiction which, by inspiring false ideas and vain expec- 
tations into men destined to travel in the obscure walk 
of laborious life, serves only to aggravate and embitter 
that real inequality which it never can remove, and 
which the order of civil life establishes as much for 












i i 

the benefit of those whom it must loavo in an hum- 
ble state as those whom it is able to exalt to a condi- 
tion more splendid, but not more happy. You had a 
smooth and easy career of felicity and glory laid open 
to you, bfc_,ond anything recorded in the history of 
the world ; but you have shown that difficulty is good 
for man. 

Compute your gains ; see what is got by those ex- 
travagant and presumptuous speculations whicii have 
taught your loaders to lospise all their predecessors, 
and all their contemporaries, and even to despise 
lliemselves, until the moment ia which they became 
truly despicable. By following those false lights, 
Prance has bought undisguised calamities at a high- 
er price than any nation has purchased the most un- 
equivocal blessings. France has bought poverty by 
crime. Franco has not sacrificed her virtue to her 
interest; but she has cbandoned her interest, that 
she might prostitute her virtue. All other nations 
have begun the fabric of a new government, or the 
reformation of an old, by establishing originally, or 
by enforcing with greater exactness, some rites or 
other of religion. All other people have laid the 
foundations of civil freedom in severer manners, and 
a system of a more austere and masculine morality. 
France, when she let loose the reins of regal author- 
ity, doubled the license of a ferocious dissolutonesa 
in manners, a"<^ of an insolent irreligion in opinions 
and practices, — and has extended through all ranks 
of life, as if she were communicating some privilege, 
or layuig open some secluded benefit, all the unhappy 
corruptions that usually were the disease of wealth 
and power. This is one of the new principles of 
equality in France. 





Franco, by tho perfidy of her loaders, has utterly 
disgraced tho tuuo of loiiicnt council in tho cabinets 
of princes, and disarmed it of its most potont topics. 
She has sanctified tlie daric, suspicious maxims of 
tyrannous disti-ust, and taught kings to tromblo ut 
(wlmt will hereafter be called) tho delusive [>lau8i- 
biliticH of moral puliticians. Sovereigns will consider 
those wlto advise them to place an uuiimitc^ confi- 
dence in their people as subvertcrs of their thrones, — 
as traitors who aim at their destruction, by leading 
their easy good-nature, under specious pretences, to 
admit combinations of bold and faithless men int 
a participation of their power. This alone (\{ the. ^ 
wore nothing else) is an irreparable calamity to you 
and to mankind. Remember that your I'urlifunent 
of Paris told your king, that, in calling the states 
together, ho had nothing to fear but th ) prodigal 
excess of their zeal in providing for tlie support of 
the throne. It is right that these men should hide 
thei'- heads. It is right that ihay should bear their 
part in tlie ruin which their counsel has brought on 
their sovereign and their country. Such sanguino 
declarations tend to lull authority asleep, — to encoir- 
age it rashly to engage in perilous adventures ol" un- 
tried policy, — to neglect those provisions, preparations, 
and precautions which distinguish benevolence from 
imbecility, and without which no man can answer for 
tho salutary effect of any abstract plan of government 
or of freedom. For want of these, they have secu 
the medicine of the state corrupted into its poison. 
They have seen the French rebel against a mild and 
lawful monarch, with more fury, outrage, and insult 
than ever any people has Ijoon known to rise against 
tho most illej'al usurper or the most sanguinary ty- 








■/ i 



rant. Their resistance was made to concession ; their 
revolt was from protection ; their blow was aimed at 
a hand holding out graces, favors, and immunities. 

Tliis was unnatural. The rest is in order. They 
have found their punishment in their success. Laws 
overturned ; tribunals subverted ; industry without 
vigor ; commerce expiring ; the revenue unpaid, yet 
the people impoverished ; a church pillaged, and a 
state not relieved ; civil and military anarchy made 
the constitution of the kingdom ; everything human 
and divine sacrificed to the idol of public credit, and 
national bankruptcy the consequence ; and, to crown 
all, the paper securities of new, precarious, tottering 
power, the discredited paper securities of impover- 
ished fraud and beggared rapine, held out as a cur- 
rency for the support of an empire, in lieu of the two 
grciic recognized species that represent the lasting, 
conventional credit of mankind, which disappeared 
and hid themselves in the earth from whence they 
came, wlien the principle of property, whose creatures 
and representatives they are, was systematically sub- 

Were all these dreadful things necessary ? Were 
they tlie inevitable results of the desperate struggle 
of determined patriots, compelled to wade through 
blood and tumult to the quiet shore of a tranquil 
and prosperous liberty ? No I nothing like it. Tlie 
fresh ruins of France, which shock our feelings wher- 
ever we can turn our eyes, are not the devastation 
of civil war: they are the sad, but instructive monu- 
ments of rash and ignorant counsel in time of pro- 
found peace. They are the display of inconsiderate 
and presumptuous, because unresisted and irresistible 
authority. The persons who liave thus squandered 



away tlie precious treasure of their crimes, the per- 
sons who have made this prodigal and wild waste of 
public evils, (the last stake reserved for the ultimate 
ransom of the state,) have met in their progress with 
little, or rather with no opposition at all. Their 
whole march was more like a triumphal procession 
than the progress of a war. Their pioneers have 
gone before them, and demolished and laid every- 
tliing level at their feet. Not one drop of their blood 
have they shed in the cause of the country they have 
ruined. They have made no sacrifices to their pro- 
jects of greater consequence than their shoe-buckles, 
whilst they were imprisoning their king, murdering 
their fellow-citizens, and bathing in tears and plung- 
ing in poverty and distress tliousands of worthy men 
and worthy families. Their cruelty has not even been 
the base result of fear. It has been the effect of their 
sense of perfect safety, in authorizing treasons, rob- 
beries, rapes, assassinations, slaughters, and burn- 
ings, throughout their harassed land. But the cause 
of all was plain from the beginning. 

Tliis unforced choice, this fond election of evil, 
would appear perfectly unaccountable, if we did not 
consider the composition of the National Assembly : 
I do not mean its formal constitution, which, as it 
now stands, is exceptionable enough, but the mate- 
rials of wliich in a great measure it is composed, 
which is of ten thousand times greater consequence 
than all the formalities in the world. If we were to 
know nothuig of this assemVily but by its title and 
function, no colors could paint to the imagination 
anytliing more venerable. In that light, the mind of 
an inquirer, subdued by such an awful image as that 







I ^'■ 

of the virtue and wisdom of a whole people collected 
into one focus, would pause and hesitate in condem- 
ning things even of the very worst aspect. Instead 
of blamable, they would appear only mysterious. But 
no name, no power, no function, no artificial institu- 
tion whatsoever, can make the men, of wliom any sys- 
tem of authority is composed, any other than God, 
and Nature, and education, and their habits of life 
have made them. Capacities beyond these the people 
have not to give. Virtue and wisdom may be the 
objects of their choice; but their choice confers 
neither the one nor the other on those upoi. whom 
they lay their ordaining hands. They have not the 
engagement of Nature, they have not the promise of 
Revelation for any such powers. 

After I had read over the list of the persons and 
descriptions elected into the Tiers JEtat, nothing 
which they afterwards did could appear astonisliing. 
Among them, indeed, I saw some of known rank, 
some of shining talents ; but of any practical experi- 
ence in the state not one man was to be found. The 
best were only men of theory. But whatever the dis- 
tinguished few may have been, it is the substance and 
mass of the body wliich constitutes its character, and 
must finally determine its direction. In all bodies, 
those who will lead must also, in a considerable 
degree, follow. They must conform tlieir proposi- 
tions to the tuste, talent, and disposition of those 
whom they wisli to conduct : therefore, if an assem- 
bly is viciously or feebly composed in a very groat 
part of it, notliing but such a supreme degree of 
virtue as very rarely appears in tlie world, and for 
that reason cannot enter into calculation, will pre- 
vent the men of talents disseminated through it from 




becoming only the expert instruments of absurd pro- 
jects. If, wliat is the more likely event, instead of 
that unusual degree of virtue, they should be actu- 
ated by sinister ambition and a lust of meretricious 
glory, then tlie feeble part of the asseml)ly, to wliom 
at first they conform, becomes, in its turn, the dupe 
and instrument of their designs. In this political 
traffic, the leaders will be obliged to bow to the igno- 
rance of their followers, and the followers to become 
subservient to the worst designs of their leaders. 

To secure any degree of sobriety in the propositions 
made by the leaders in any public assembly, they 
ought to respect, in some degree perhaps to fear, 
those whom they conduct. To be led any otherwise 
than blindly, the followers must be qualified, if not 
for actors, at least for judges; they must also be 
judges of natural weight and authority. Nothing 
can secure a steady and moderate conduct in such 
assemblies, but that the body of them sliould be re- 
spectably composed, in point of condition in life, of 
permanent property, of education, and of such habits 
as enlarge and liberalize the understanding. 

In the calling of the States-General of Franco, the 
first thing that struck me was a great dcj)arturo 
from the ancient course. I found the representation 
for the third estate composed of six hundred persons. 
They were equal in niimber to tlie representatives of 
both the other orders. If the orders were to act sep- 
arately, tlie number would not, beyond the consider- 
ation of tlie expense, be of much moment. But 

''cn it became apparent that the three orders were 
to be melted down into one, the policy and necessary 
efTect of this numerous representation became ob- 
vious A very small desertion from either of the 






: i 






other two orders must throw the power of both into 
the hands of the third. In fact, the whole power of 
the state was soon resolved into that body. Its due 
composition became, therefore, of infinitely the greater 

Judge, Sir, of my surprise, when I found that a 
very great proportion of the Assembly (a majority, I 
believe, of the members who attended) was composed 
of practitioners in the law. It was composed, not of 
distinguished magistrates, who had given pledges to 
their country of their science, prudence, and integri- 
ty, — not of leading advocates, the glory of the bar, — 
not of renowned professors in universities, — but for 
the far greater part, as it must in such a number, 
of the inferior, unlearned, mechanical, merely instru- 
mental membars of the profession. There were dis- 
tinguished exceptions ; but the general composition 
was of obscure provincial advocates, of stewards of 
petty local jurisdictions, country attorneys, notaries, 
and tiie whole train of the ministers of municipal liti- 
gation, the tomenters and conductors of the petty war 
of village vexation. From the moment I read the 
list, I saw distinctly, and very nearly as it has hai> 
pciicd, all that was to follow. 

The degree of estimation in which any profession 
is held becomes the standard of the estimation in 
which the professors hold themselves. Whatever tlio 
personal merits of many individual lawyers might 
have been, (and m many it was undoubtedly very 
considerable,) in that military kingdom no part of the 
profession had been much regarded, except the high- 
est of all, who often united to their professional offices 
great family s|:lendor, and were invested with great 
power and authority. These certainly were higlily 

\ „ 



respected, and even with no small degree of awe. 
The next rank was not much esteemed ; the mechan- 
ical part was in a very low degree of repute. 

WhCiiever the supreme authority is vested in a 
body so composed, it must evidently produce the con- 
sequences of supreme authority placed in the hands 
of men not taught habitually to respect themselves, — 
who had no previous fortune in character at stake, — 
wlio could not be expected to bear with moderation 
or to conduct with discretion a power which they 
themselves, more than any others, must be surprised 
to find in their hands. Who could flatter himself 
that these men, suddenly, and as it were by en- 
chantment, snatched from the humbl t rank of sub- 
ordination, would not be intoxicn' ith tlieir un- 
prepared greatness ? Who could ive that men 
who are habitually meddling, darin. subtle, active, 
of litigious dispositions and unquiet minds, would 
easily fall back into their old condition of obscure 
contention, and laborious, low, and unprofitable chi- 
cane? Who could doubt but that, at any expense 
to the state, of which they understood notliing, they 
must pursue their private interests, which they un- 
derstood but too well ? It was not an event depend- 
ing on chance or contingency. It was inevitable ; it 
wa^ --ssary ; it was planted in the nature of things. 
TI -.sf join (if thfir capacity did not permit them 
to . ; in any projt, which could procure to them 
a litigious coiditution, — which could lay open to them 
those innumerable lucrative jobs whicli follow in the 
train of all great convulsions and revolutions in the 
state, and particularly in all great and violent per- 
mutations of property. Was it to be expected that 
they would attend to the stability of property, wliose 





,i i 

' '* 

existence had always depended upon whatever ren- 
dered property questionable, ambiguous, and inse- 
cure ? Their objects would be enlarged with their 
elevation ; but their disposition, and habits, and mode 
of accomplishing their designs must remain the 

"Well ! but these men were to be tempered and re- 
strained by other descriptions, of more sober minds 
and more enlarged understandings. "Were they, then, 
to be awed by the supereminent authority and awful 
dignity of a handful of country clowns, who have 
srats in that assembly, some of whom are said not to 
';e able to read and write, — and by not a greater 
number of traders, who, though somewhat more 
instructed, and more conspicuous in the order of so- 
ciety, had never known anything beyond their count- 
ing-house? No! both these descriptions were more 
formed to be overborne and swayed by the intrigues 
and artifices of lawyers than to become their coun- 
terpoise. With such a dangerous disproportion, the 
wliole must needs be governed by them. 

To the faculty of law was joined a pretty consid- 
erable proportion of the faculty of medicine. This 
faculty had not, any more than that of the law, pos- 
sessed in France its just estimation. Its professors, 
therefore, must have the qualities of men not habitu- 
ated to sentiments of dignity. But supposing they 
had ranked as they ought to do, and as with us they 
do actually, the sides of sick-beds are not the acade- 
mies for forming statesmen and legislators. Then 
came the dealers in stocks and funds, who nuist be 
eager, at a:iy expense, to change their ideal paper 
wealth for the more solid sul)stance of land. To 
tlicse were joined n)eii of other descriptions, from 





whom as little knowledge of or attention to the in- 
terests of a great state was to bo expected, and as 
little regard to the stability of any institution, — men 
formed to be instniraents, not controls. — Such, in 
general, was the composition of the Tiers Etat in tlie 
National Assembly ; in which was scarcely to bo per- 
ceived the sliglitest traces of what wo call tlic natural 
landod interest of tlie country. 

We Icnow that the British House of Commons, 
witliout shutting its doors to any merit in any class, 
is, by the sure operation of adequate causes, filled 
with everything illustrious in rank, in descent, in 
hereditary and in acquired opulence, in cultiva.jd 
talents, in military, civil, naval, and politic distinc- 
tion, that the country can afford. But supposing, 
what hardly can be supposed as a case, that the 
House of Commons should be composed in the same 
manner with the Tiers J6tat in France, — would this 
dominion of chicane be borne with patience, or even 
conceived without horror ? God forbid I should in- 
sinuate anything derogatory to that profession wliicli 
is anotlier priesthood, administering tlie riglits of sa- 
cred justice ! But whilst I revere men in the func- 
tions which belong to them, and would do as murh 
as one man can do to prevent ihcir exclusion from 
any, I cannot, to flatter them, give the lie to Xature. 
They are good and useful in the composition ; they 
must be mischievous, if tliey preponderate so as viriu- 
ally to become tlie wliole. Tlicir very excellonce in 
their peculiar functions may be far from a qualifica- 
tion for others. It cannot escape observation, that, 
when men are too much confined to professional and 
faculty habits, and, as it were, inveterate in the re- 
current employment of that narrow circle, they arc 

VOL. III. 19 











rather disabled than qualified for whatever depends 
on the knowledge of mankind, on experience in mix- 
ed affairs, on a comprehensive, connected view of 
the various, complicated, external, and internal inter- 
ests which go to the formation of that multifarious 
thing called a State. 

After all, if the House of Commons were to have 
an wholly professional and faculty composition, what 
is the power of the House of Commons, circumscribed 
and shut in by the immovable barriers of laws, usa- 
ges, positive rules of doctrine and practice, counter- 
poised by the House of Lords, and every moment of 
its existence at the discretion of the crown to con- 
tinue, prorogue, or dissolve us ? The power of the 
House of Commons, direct or indirect, is, indeed, 
great : and long may it be able to preserve its great- 
ness, and the spirit belonging to true greatness, at the 
full ! — and it will do so, as long as it can keep the 
breakers of law in India from becoming the makers 
of law for England. Tlie power, however, of the 
House of Commons, when least diminished, is as a 
drop of water in the ocean, compared to that resid- 
ing in a settled majority of your National Assembly. 
Tliat assembly, since the destruction of the orders, has 
no fundamental law, no strict convention, no respect- 
ed usage to restrain it. Instead of finding themselves 
obliged to conform to a fixed constitution, they have 
a power to make a constitution which shall conform to 
their designs. Nothing in heaven or upon earth can 
serve as a control on them. What ought to be the 
heads, the hearts, the dispositions, that are qualified, 
or that dare, not only to make laws under a fixed con- 
tititution, but at one heat to strike out a totally new 
constitution for a groat kingdom, and ia every part 



of it, from the monarch on the throne to the vestry 
of a parish ? But 

"Fools rush in where angels fear to tread." 
In such a state of unbounded power, for undefined 
and undefinable purposes, the evil of a moral and 
almost physical inaptitude of the man to the func- 
tion ' st be the greatest we can conceive to happen 
in the management of human affairs. 

Having consiriered the composition of the third es- 
tate, as it stood in its original frame, I took a view 
of the representatives of the clergy. There, too, it 
appeared that full as little regard was had to the 
general security of property, or to the aptitude of the 
deputies for their public purposes, in the principles of 
their election. That election was so contrived as to 
sond a very large proportion of mere country curates 
to the great and arduous work of new-modelling a 
state : men who never had seen the state so much as 
in a picture ; men who knew nothing of the world 
beyond the bounds of an obscure village ; who, im- 
mersed in hopeless poverty, could regard all prop- 
erty, whether secular or ecclesiastical, with no other 
eye than that of envy ; among whom must be many 
who, for the smallest hope of the meanest dividend in 
plunder, would readily join in any attempts upon a 
body of wealth in which they could hardly look to 
have any share, except in a general scramble. In- 
stead of balancing the power of the active chicaners 
in the otlier assembly, these curates must necessarily 
become the active coadjutors, or at best the passive 
instruments, of those by whom they had been liabitu- 
ally guided in their petty village concerns. They, too, 
could hardly be the most conscientious of their kind, 
who, presuming upon their incompetent understana- 












ing, could intrigue for a trust which led them from 
their natural rolation to their flocks, and tlieir nat- 
ural spheres of action, to undertake tlie regeneration 
of kingdoms. Tliis prepHderating weight, being add- 
ed to the force of tlio body of chicane in the Tiers 
£tat, completed that momentum of ignorance, rash- 
ness, presumption, and lust of plunder, which noth- 
ing has been able to resist. 

To observing men it must have appeared from the 
beginning, that the majority of the tliird estate, in 
conjunction with such i, deputation from the clergy 
as I have described, whilst it pursued the destruction 
of tlie nobility, would inevitably become subservient 
to the worst designs of individuals in that class. In 
tlio spoil and humiliation of their own order these 
individuals would possess a sure fund for the pay of 
their new followers. To squander away the objects 
which made the haj)piness of their follows would be 
to them no sacrifice at all. Turbulent, discontented 
men of quality, in proportion as they are puffed up 
with personal pride and arrogance, general'y despise 
their own order. One of the first symptoms tliey dis- 
cover of a selfish and mischievous ambition is a prof- 
ligate disregard of a dignity which tliey partake with 
others. To be attached to the subdivision, to love 
the little platoon wo belong to in society, is the first 
principle (tlic germ, as it were) of public aCfections. 
It is the first link in the series by wliicli wo proceed 
towards a love to our country and to mankind. The 
interest of that portiL»n of social arrangement is a 
trust in the liands of all those wlio compose it ; and 
as none but bad men would justify it in abuse, none 
but traitors would barter it away for their own per- 
sonal advantage. 




There were, in the time of our civil troubles iu 
England, (I do not know whether you have any such 
in your Assembly in France,) several persons, like 
the tlion Earl of Holland, who by themselves or their 
families had brought an odium on the throne by 
the prodigal dispensation of its bounties towards 
them, who afterwards joined in the rebellions aris- 
ing from the discontents of which they were them- 
selves the cause: men who helped to subvert that 
throne to which they owed, some of them, their ex- 
istence, others all that power which they employed 
to ruin their benefactor. If any bounds are sot to 
the rapacious demands of that sort of people, or thai, 
others are permitted to partake in the objects they 
would engross, revenge and envy soon fill up tho 
craving void that is left in their avarice. Confound- 
ed by tho complication of distempered passions, their 
reason is disturbed ; their views become vast and 
perplexed, — to others inexplicable, to themselves 
vncertain. They find, on all sides, bounds to their 
unprincipled ambition in any fixed order of things ; 
but in the fog and haze of confusion all is enlarged, 
and appears without any limit. 

Wlieii men of rank sacrifice all ideas of dignity to 
an ambition without a distinct object, and work with 
low instruments and for low ends, the whole composi- 
tion becomes low and base. Does not something like 
tliis now appear in France? Poes it not produce 
somo»' ;g ignoble and inglorious : a kind of mean- 
ness m all the prevalent policy ; a tendency in all 
that is done to lower along with individuals all the 
dignity and importance of the state ? Other revolu- 
tions have been conducted by persons who, whilst they 
attempted or affected changes in the commonwealth, 











(I 111 

.■ ■,! 
I ■ 

■anctifled tlicit- ambition by adTancing tlio dignity of 
tho peuplti whuso poaco thoy troubled. Tiioy had long 
views. They aimed at tho rule, not at tlio destruc- 
tion of their country. They wore men of great civil 
and great military talents, and if tho terror, tho orna- 
ment uf tlieir age. They were not like Jew brokers 
contending with each other who could best remedy 
with fraudulent circulation and depreciated paper tlie 
wretchedness and ruin brought on their cuuntry by 
their degenerate councils. The compliment made to 
one of the great bad men of the old stamp (Ore i 
well) by his kinsman, a favorite poet of that time, 
shows what it was he proposed, and what indeed to 
a great degree he accomplished in the success of his 
ambition : — 

" Still u you riM, the itate, exalted too, 

Js no distemper whiUt 't i« changed by you : 

"d like the world's great scene, when without noise 
T sun night's vulgar lights destro^-s." 

These uioiurbers were not so mucli like men usurp- 
ing power as asserting their natural place in society. 
Their rising was to illuminate and beautify the world. 
Tiieir conquebt over their competitors was by outshin- 
ing tliem. Tlie hand, that, like a destroying angel, 
smote the country, communicated to it tlie force and 
energy under which it suffered. I do not say, (God 
forbid I ) I do not say that the virtues of sucli men 
were to be taken as a balance to tlieir crimes ; but 
they were some corrective to their effects. Sucli was, 
as I said, our Cromwell. Such were your whole race 
of Guises, Condus, and Colignys. Such the Riclie- 
lieus, who in more quiet times acted in tlio spirit of 
a civil war. Sucli, as better men, and in a less du- 
bious cause, were your Henry tho Fourth, and youi 



Sully, though niirsod in <ril confusions, and not 
wholly without some of ii ir taint. It is a thing to 
bo wondered at, to seo how vury soon France, when 
&ho had a moment to rospiro, recovered and emerged 
from the longest and most dreadful civil war that 
ever was known in any nation. Why? Because, 
among all their massacres, they had not slain the 
mind in their country. A conscious dignity, a noblo 
pride, a generous sense of glory and emulation, was 
not extinguished. On tlie contrary, it was kindled 
and inflamed. The organs also of the state, however 
shall jiod, existed. All tlnJ prizes of honor and vir- 
tue, all the rewards, all tlie distinctions, remained. 
But your present confusion, like a palsy, has attack- 
ed the fountain of life itself. Every person in your 
country, in a situation to bo actuated by a principle 
of honor, is disgraced and degraded, and can eiiter- 
tain no sensation of life, except in a mortified and 
humiliated indignation. But this generation will 
qui''l<1v pass away. The next generation of the no- 
bility will resemble the artificers and clowns, and 
money-jobbers, usurers, and Jews, who wili bo al- 
ways their fellows, sometimes their masters. Believe 
me. Sir, those who attempt to level neve equalize. 
In all societies consisting of various descriptions of 
citizens, some description must be uppermost. The 
levellers, therefore, only change and pervert the nat- 
ural order of things : they load the edifice of society 
by sotting up in the air wliat the solidity of the struc- 
ture requires to be on the ground. The associations 
of tailors and carpenters, of wliich the republic (of 
Paris, for instance) is composed, cannot be equal to 
tlie situation into which, by the worst of usurpations, 
an usurpatio" on the prerogatives of Nature, you at 
tempt to forv.0 them. 



I * 






/ , 1 fi/i 




The Chancellor of France, at the opening of the 
States, said, in a tone of oratorial flourisli, that all 
occupations were honorable. If he meant only that 
no honest employment was disgraceful, he would not 
have gone beyond tlie truth. But in asserting that 
anything is honorable, we imply some distinction in 
its favor. The occupation of a hair-dresser, or of a 
working tallow-chandler, cannot be a matter of honor 
to any person, — to say nothing of a number of other 
more servile emi)loyments. Such descriptions of men 
ought not to suffer oppression from the state ; but the 
state suffers oppression, if such as they, either indi- 
vidually or collectively, are permitted to rule. In 
this you tliink you are combating prejudice, but you 
are at war with Nature.* 

I do not, my dear Sir, conceive you to be of that 
sophistical, captious spirit, or of that uncandid dul- 
ness, as to require, for every general observation or 
sentiment, an explicit detail of the correctives and 
exceptions which reason will presume to be included 
in all the general propositions which come from rcu!<on- 

» Ecclesiasticus, chap, xxxviii. vcr. 24, 25. " The wisdom of a 
learned man conieth by opportunity of leisure : and he that hath lit- 
tle business shall become wise. How can he get wisdom that holdeth 
the ploHjrh, and that glorieth in the goad ; that driveth oxen, and is 
occupied in their laliors, and whose talk is of bullocks ? " 

Vcr. 27. '• So every carpenter and workmaster, that lahoreth night 
and day," &e. 

Ver. 33. ■■ They shall not be sought for in public counsel, nor sit 
high in the ton^rcf;ation : they shall not sit on the jud^jc's scat, nor 
understand the sontciicc of judgment : they cannot declare justice aud 
judgment, and they shall not be found where parables are spoken." 

Ver. 34. "But they will maintain the state of the world." 

I do not dett rmine whether this book be canonical, as the Galilean 
Church (till lately) has considered it. or apocryphal, as here it is 
taken. I am sure it contains a great deal of sense and truth. 


('■ I 



able men. You do not imagine that I wish to confine 
power, authority, and distinction to blood and names 
and titles. No, Sir. There is no qualification for 
government but virtue and wisdom, actual or pre- 
sumptive. Wherever they are actually found, they 
have, in whatever state, condition, profession, or trade, 
the passport of Heaven to human place and honor. 
Woe to the country which would madly and im- 
piously reject the service of the talents and virtues, 
civil, military, or religious, that are given to grace 
and to serve it; and would condemn to obscurity 
everything formed to diffuse lustre and glory around 
a state ! Woo to that country, too, that, passing into 
the opposite extreme, considers a low education, a 
mean, contracted view of things, a sordid, mercenary 
occupation, as a preferable title to command ! Every- 
thing ought to be open, — but not indifferently to 
every man. No rotation, no appointment by lot, no 
mode of election operating in the spirit of sortition or 
rotation, can be generally good in a government con- 
versant in extensive objects ; because they have no 
tendency, direct or indirect, to select the man with a 
view to the duty, or to accommodate the one to the 
other. I do not hesitate to say that the road to emi- 
nence and power, from obscure condition, ought not 
to be made too easy, nor a thing too much of course. 
If rare merit be the rarest of all rare things, it ought 
to pass through some sort of probation. The temple 
of honor ought to be seated on an eminence. If it 
be opened through virtue, let it be remembered, too, 
that virtue is never tried but by some difficulty and 
some struggle. 

Nothing is a due and adequate representation of a 
state, that does not represent its ability, as well as its 





t '<'• 

propei-ty. But as ability is a vigorous and active 
principle, and as property is sluggisli, inert, and tim- 
id, it never can be safe from the invasions of ability, 
unless it be, out of all proportion, prodoininant in the 
representation. It must be represented, too, in great 
masses of ac* 'mulatiou, or it is not rightly protected. 
The character stic essence of projjcrty, formed out of 
the combine 1 /rinciples of its acquisition and conser- 
vation, is to o- unequal. Tlie great masses, tliorefore, 
which excite envy, and tempt rapacity, must be put 
out of the possibility of danger. Then they form a 
natural rampart about the lesser properties in all 
their gradations. The same quantity of property 
which is by the natural course of things divided 
among many has not the same operation. Its de- 
fensive power is weakened as it is diffused. In this 
diffusion each man's portion is less than what, in 
the eagerness of his desires, he may flatter himself 
to obtain by dissipating the accumulations of others. 
Tiie plunder of the few would, indeed, give but a share 
inconceivably small in the distribution to the many. 
But the many are not capable of making this calcula- 
tion ; and those who lead them to rapine never in- 
tend this distribution. 

The power of perpetuating our property in our 
families is one of the most valuable and interesting 
circumstances belonging to it, and that wliich tends 
the most to the perpetuation of society itself. It 
makes oyr weakness subservient to our virtue ; it 
grafts benevolence even upon avarice. The jjosses- 
sors of family wealth, and of the distinction which 
attends hereditary possession, (as most concerned 
in it,) are the natural securities for this transmis- 
sion. With us the House of Peers is formed upon 



this principle. It is wholly composed of hereditary 
property and hereditary distinction, and made, there- 
fore, the third of tlie legislature, and, in tlie last event, 
tlie sole judge of all property in all its subdivisions. 
The House of Commons, too, though not necessarily, 
yet in fact, is always so composed, in the far greater 
part. Let those largo proprietors be what thoy will, 
(and they have their chance of being amongst the 
best,) they • ', at the very worst, the ballast in the 
vessel of tl uonwealth. For thougli hereditary 

wealth, anu ulc which goes with it, are too much 

idolized by creeping sycophants, and tlie blind, abject 
admirers of power, tiiey are too raslily slighted in 
shallow speculations of the petulant, absuming, short- 
sighted coxcombs of philosophy. Some decent, regu- 
lated preeminence, some preference (not exclusive 
api)ropriation) given to birtli, is ueitlier unnatural, 
nor unjust, nor impolitic. 

It is said that twenty-four millions ought to pro- 
vail over two hundred thousand. True ; if the con- 
stitution of a kingdom be a problem of arithmetic. 
This sort of discourse does well enough with the 
lamp-post for its second: to men who may reason 
calmly it is ridiculous. The will of the many, and 
their interest, must very often differ; and great will 
be the dilference when tliey maice an evil clioice. A 
government of five hundred country attorneys and 
obscure curates is not good for twenty-four millions 
of men, tliough it \. -,re chosen by eight-and-forty mil- 
lions ; nor is it tlio better for being guided by a 
dozen of persons of quality who have betrayed tlieir 
trust in order to obtain that power. At present, you 
seem in everything to have strayed out of the high 
road of Na.ure. The property of Franco does not 




• i 










govern it. Of course property is destroyed, and 
rational liberty has no existence. All you have got 
for tlio present is a paper circulation, and a stock-job- 
bing cons-titution : and as to the <uture, do you seri- 
ously think that the territory of France, upon the 
republican system of eighty-three independent muni- 
cipalities, (to say nothing of the parts that compose 
them,) can ever be governed as one body, or can ever 
be set in motion by the impulse of one mind ? Wlien 
the National Assembly has completed its work, it will 
have accomplished its ruin. These commonwealths 
will not long bear a state of subjection to the repub- 
lic of Paris. They will not bear that this one body 
should monopolize the captivity of the king, and the 
dominion over the assembly calling itself national. 
Each will keep its own portion of the spoil of the 
Church to itself; and it will not suffer either that 
spoil, or the more just fruits of their industry, or the 
natural produce of their soil, to be sent to swell the 
insolence or pampe. the luxury of the mechanics of 
Paris. In this they will ste none of the equality, 
under the pretence of which they have been tempted 
to throw off" their allegiance to their sovereign, as well 
as the ancient constitution of their country. There 
can be no capital city in such a constitution as they 
have lately made. They have forgot, that, when they 
framed democratic governments, they had virtually 
dismembered their country. The person whom they 
persevere in calling king has not power left to him 
by the hundredth part sufficient to hold together this 
collection of republics. The republic of Paris will 
endeavor, indeed, to complete the debauchery of the 
army, and illegally to perpetuate the Assembly, with- 
out resort to its constituents, as the means of contin- 

i) 'I 



uing its despotism. It will make efforts, by bccom- 
ing the heart of a boundless paper circulation, to 
draw everything to itself: but in vain. All this pol- 
icy in the end will appear as feeble as it i- low vio- 

If this be your actual situation, compared to the 
situation to which you were called, as it were by 
the voice of God and man, I cannot find it in my 
heart to congratulate you on tl.^ choice you have 
made, or the success which has attended yonc en- 
deavors. I can as little recommend to any other 
nation a conduct grounded on such princi))les and 
productive of such effects. That I must leave to 
those who can soo further into your affairs than I 
am able to do, and who best know how far your ac- 
tions are favorable to their designs. The gentlemen 
of the Revolution Society, who were so early in their 
congratulations, appear to be strongly of opinion that 
there is some scheme of politics relative to this coun- 
try, in which your proceedings may in some way bo 
useful. For your Dr. Price, who seems to have spec- 
ulated himself into no small degree of fervor upon 
this subject, addresses his auditors in the following 
very remarkable words : — "I cannot conclude with- 
out recallijig particularly to your recollection a con- 
sideration which I have 7nore than once alluded to, and 
which probably your thoughts have been all along an- 
ticipating; ?i consideration with which my mind is 
impressed more than I can express : I mean the con- 
sideration of the favorahleness of the present titties to 
all exertions in the cause of liberty" 

It is plain that the mind of this political preacher 
was at the time big with some extraordinary design ; 





and it is veiy probable that the thoughts of his audi- 
ence, wlio understood him better than I do, did all 
along run before him in his reflection, and in the 
whole train of consequences to wliich it led. 

Before I read that sermon, I really thought I had 
lived in a free country ; and it was an error I cher- 
ished, because it gave me a greater liking to the 
country I lived in. I was, indeed, aware that a 
jealous, ever-waking vigilance, to guard the treasure 
of our liberty, not only from invasion, but from decay 
and corruption, was our best wisdom and our first 
duty. However, I considered that treasure rather as 
a possession to be secured than as a prize to be con- 
tended for. I did not discern how the present time 
came to be so very favorable to all exertions in the 
cause of freedom. The present time differs from any 
other only by the circumstance of what is doing in 
Prance. If the example of that nation is to have an 
influence on this, I can easily conceive why some of 
their proceedings which have an unpleasant aspect, 
and are not quite reconcilable to humanity, generos- 
ity, good faith, and justice, are palliated with so much 
milky good-nature towards the actors, and borne with 
so much heroic fortitude towards the sufferers. It is 
certainly not priident to discredit the authority of an 
example we mean to follow. But allowing this, we 
are led to a very natural q\iestion : — What is that 
cause of liberty, and what are those exertions in its 
favor, to which the example of France is so singularly 
auspicious ? Is our monarchy to be annihilated, with 
all the laws, all the tribunals, and all the ancient cor- 
porations of the kingdom ? Is every landmark of 
the country to be done away in favor of a geomet- 
rical and arithmetical constitution? Is the House of 




Lords to be voted useless ? Is Episcopacy to bo abol- 
ished ? Are the Church lands to be sold to Jews and 
jobbers, or given to bribe new-invented municipal 
republics into a participation in sacrilege ? Are all 
the taxes to be voted grievances, and the revenue re- 
duced to a patriotic contribution or patriotic presents? 
Are silver shoe-buckles to be substituted in the place 
of the land-tax and the malt-tax, for the support of 
the naval strength of this kingdom ? Are all orders, 
ranks, and distinctions to be confounded, that out 
of universal anarchy, joined to national bankruptcy, 
three or four thousand democracies should bo formed 
into eighty-threo, and that they may all, by some sort 
of unknown attractive power, be organized into one ? 
For this great end is the army to be seduced from its 
discipline and its fidelity, first by every kind of de- 
bauchery, and then by the terrible precedent of a do- 
native in the increase of pay ? Are the curates to be 
seduced from their bishops by holding out t<j them 
the delusive hope of a dole out of the spoils of their 
own order ? Are the citizens of London to be drawn 
from their allegiance by feeding them at the expense 
of their fcUow-subjects ? Is a compulsory paper cur- 
rency to be substituted in the place of the legal coin 
of this kingdom ? Is what remains of tlic plundered 
stock of public revenue to be employed in the wild 
project of maintaining two armies to watch over and 
1,^ fight with each other ? If these are the ends and 
means of the Revolution Society, I admit they aro 
well assorted ; and France may furnish them for both 
with precedents in point. 

I see that your example is held '-ut to shame us. 
I know that we are supposed a dull, sluggish race, 
rendered passive by finding our situation tolerable, 


fjf ! J 






and prcvcntfid by a mediocrity of freedom from ever 
attaining to its full perfection. Your leaders in 
Franco began by affecting to admire, almost to adore, 
the firitisli Constitution ; but as tliey advanced, tlicy 
came to look upon it with a sovereign contempt. 
The friLMids of your National Assembly amongst us 
have fidl us mean an opinion of what was formerly 
tliought the glory of their country. The Revolution 
Society has discovered that the English nation is not 
free. They are convinced that the inequality in our 
representation is a "defect in our Constitution so 
gross and jialpalle as to make it excellent chiefly 
inform and theory" ;* — that a representation in the 
legislature of a kingdom is not only the basis of all 
constitutional liberty in it, but of " all legitimate gov- 
ernment ; tl'.at without it a government is nothing but 
an usurpation " ; — that, " when the representation is 
partial, tliii kingdom possesses liberty oxA^ partially ; 
and if cxtromcly partial, it gives only a semblance; 
and if not only extremely partial, but corruptly chos- 
en, it becomes a nuisance" Dr. Price considers this 
inadequacy of representation as our fundamental 
grievance; and though, as to the corruption of this 
semblance of representation, he hopes it is not yet 
arrived to its full perfection of depravity, he fears 
that " notliing will be done towards gaining for us 
this essential blessing, until some great abuse of pozver 
again provokes our resentment, or some great calam- 
ity again alarms our fears, or perhaps till the acqui- 
sition of a purt' tind equal representation by other coun- 
tries, whilst are tnoched witli the shadoiv, kindles 
our shame."' To this he subjoins a note in those 
words : — "A representation chosen chiefly by the 

• Discourse on the Love of onr Country, 3rd edit. p. 39. 



Treasury, and a/ew thousands of the dregs of the peo- 
ple, who are generally paid for their votes." 

You will smile here at the consistency of those 
democratists who, when they are not on their guard, 
treat the humbler part of the community with the 
greatest contempt, whilst, at the same time, they pre- 
tend to make them the depositories of all power. It 
would require a long discourse to point out to you 
the many fallacies that lurk in the generality and 
equivocal nature of the terms " inadequate represen- 
tation." I shall only say here, in justice to that old- 
fashioned Constitution under which we have long 
prospered, that our representation has been found 
perfectly adequate to all the purposes for which a 
representation of ilie people can be desired or de- 
vised. I defy the enemies of our Constitution to 
show the contrary. To detail the particulars in 
which it is found so well to promote its ends would 
demand a treatise on our practical Constitution. I 
state here the doctrine of the revolutionists, only that 
you and others may see what an opinion these gen- 
tlemen entertain of the Constitution of their country, 
and why they seem to think that some great abuse of 
power, or some great calamity, as giving a chance for 
the blessing of a Constitution according to their ideas, 
would be much palliated to their feelings ; you see 
tvhy they are so much enamored of your fair and 
equal representation, which being once obtained, the 
same effects might follow. You see they consider 
our House of Commons as only " a semblance," " a 
form," " a theory," " a shadow," " a mockery," 
perhaps " a nuisance." 

These gentlemen value themselves on being syste- 
matic, and not vrithout reason. They must therefore 

VOI. III. 20 


J _ 






I ' * 

look on this gross and palpable defect of representa- 
tion, this fundamental grievance, (so they call it,) as 
a thing not only vicious in itself, but as rendering 
our whole go /ernmont absolutely illegitimate, and not 
at all better than a downright uaurpation. Another 
rovolutior to get rid of this illegitimate and usurped 
govern me vould of course bo perfectly justifiable, 
if not absolutely necessary. Indeed, their principle, 
if you observe it with any attention, goes much fur- 
ther than to an alteration in the election of the House 
of Commons ; for, if popular representation, or choice, 
is necessary to the legitimacy of all government, the 
House of Lords is, at one stroke, bastardized and cor- 
rupted in blood. That House is no representative of 
the people at all, even in "semblance" or "in form." 
The case of the crown is altogether as bad. In vain 
the crown may endeavor to screen itself against these 
gentlemen by the authority of the establishment made 
on the Revolution. The Revolution, which is resort- 
ed to for a title, on their system, wants a title itself. 
The Revolution is built, according to their theory, up- 
on a basis not more solid than our present formalities, 
as it was made by a House of Lords not represent- 
ing any one but themselves, and by a House of Com- 
mons exactly such as the present, that is, as they term 
it, by a mere " shadow and mockery " of representa- 

Something they must destroy, or they seem to them- 
selves to exist for no purpose. One set is for destroy- 
ing the civil power through the ecclesiastical ; another 
for demolishing the ecclesiastic through the civil. 
They are aware that the worst consequences might 
happen to the public in accomplishing this double ru- 
in of Church and State ; but they are so heated with 



ilicir theories, that they give more than hints that 
t)iis ruin, with all the mischiefs that must lead to it 
and attend it, and which to themselves appear quite 
certain, would not be unacceptable to them, or very 
remote from their wishes. A man amongst them of 
great authority, and certainly of great talents, speak- 
ing of a supposed alliance between Cluirch and State, 
says, " Perhaps we mutt wait for the fall of the civil 
powers, before tliis most unnatural alliance be broken. 
Calamitous, no doubt, will that time be. But what 
convulsion in the political world ought to be a sub- 
ject of lamentation, if it bo attended with so desir- 
able an eflfect?" You see with what a steady eje 
these gentlemen are prepared to view the greatest 
calamities which can befall their covintry! 

It is no wonder, therefore, that, with these ideas 
of everything in their Constitution and government 
at home, either in Church or State, as illegitimate 
and usurped, or at best as a vain mockery, they 
look abroad with an eager and passionate enthusi- 
asm. Whilst they ; ""e possessed by these notions, it 
is vain to talk to them of t^^c practice of their ances- 
tors, the fundamental laws of their country, the fixed 
form of a Constitution whose merits are confirmed 
by the solid test of long experience and an increas- 
ing public strength and national prosperity. They 
despise experience as the wisdom of unlettered men ; 
and as for the rest, they have wrought under ground 
a mine that will blow up, at one grand explosion, 
all examples of antiquity, all precedents, arters, 
and acts of Parliament. They have " tn^ rights 
of men." Against these there can be no prescrip- 
tion ; against these no argument is binding : these 
admit no temperament and no compromise: any- 


I' I 





thing withheld from their full demand is so much 
of fraud and iiyustice. Against these their rights 
of men lot no government look for security in the 
length of its continuance, or in the justice and len- 
ity of its administration. The objections of these 
speculatists, if its forms do not quadrate with their 
theories, are as valid against such an old and be- 
neficent government as against the most violent tyr- 
anny or the greenest usurpation. They are always 
at issue with governments, not on a q..ostion of 
abuse, but a question of competency and a question 
of title. I have nothing to say to the clumsy subtilty 
of their political mouphysics. Let them be their 
amusement in the schools. 

lUa se jactet in aula 
^olu», et clanso rentoram carccre regnet. 

But let them not break prison to burst like a Le- 
vanter, to sweep the earth with their hurricane, and 
to break up the fountains of the great deep to over- 
whelm us ! 

Far am I from denying in theory, full as far is my 
heart from withholding in practice, (if I were of pow- 
er to give or to withhold,) the real rights of men. In 
denying their false claims of right, 1 do not mean to 
injure those which are real, and are such as their pre- 
tended rights would totally destroy. If civil society 
be made for the advantage of man, all the advantages 
for which it is made become his right. It is an institu- 
tion of beneficence; and law itself is only beneficence 
acting by a rule. Men have a right to live by that 
rule ; they have a right to justice, as between their 
fellows, whether their fellows are in politic function 
or in ordinary occupation. They have a right to the 
fruits of theu- industry, and to the means of making 



their industry fruitfa'. ■"' y have a right to the ac- 
quisitions of thoir par . o the nourishment and 
improvement o*" t eir o -faring, to instruction in life 
and to consoidi ou in death. Whatever each man 
can separately do, without trespassing upon others, 
he has a right to do for himself; and he has a right 
to a fiiir portion of all which society, with all its com- 
binations of skill and force, can do in his favor. In 
this partiiorsliip all men have equal rights ; but not 
to equal tilings. He that has but five shillings in 
the partncisliip has as good a right to it as he that 
has five hundred pounds has to his larger propor- 
tion ; but he has not a right to an equal dividend in 
the product of the joint stock. And as to the share of 
power, autljority, and direction which each individual 
ought to have in the management of the state, that 
I must deny to be amongst the direct original rights 
of man in civil society ; for I have in my contempla- 
tion tlie civil social man, and no other. It is a thing 
to be settled by convention. 

If civil society be the offspring of convention, that 
convention must be its law. That convention must 
limit and modify all the descriptions of constitution 
which are formed under it. Every sort of legisla- 
tive, judicial, or executory power are its creatures. 
They can have no being in any other state of things ; 
and how can any man claim, under the conventions 
of civil society, rights which do 3;ot so much as sup- 
pose its existence, — rights which are absolutely re- 
pugnant to it? One of the first motives to civil 
society, and which becomes one of its fundamental 
rules, is, that no man should be judge in his otrn cause. 
By this each person has at once divested himself of 
the first fundamental right of uucovenanted man 





that is, to judge for himself, and to assert his own 
cause. Ho abdicates all right to be his own gov- 
ernor. He inclusively, in a great measure, abandons 
the right of self-defence, the first law of Nature. 
Men cannot enjoy the rights of an uncivil and of a 
civil state together. That he may obtain justice, he 
gives up his right of determining what it is in points 
the most essential to him. That he may secure some 
liberty, he makes a surrender in trust of the whole 
of it. 

Government is not made in virtue of natural rights, 
which may and do exist in total independence of it, 
— and exist in much greater clearness, and in a 
much greater degree of abstract perfection : but their 
abstract perfection is their practical defect. By hav- 
ing a right to everything they want everything. Gov- 
ernment is a contrivance of human wisdom to provide 
for human wants. Men have a right that these wants 
should be provided for by this wisdom. Among these 
wants is to be reckoned the want, out of civil society, 
of a sufficient restraint upon their passions. Society 
requires not only that the passions of individuals 
should be subjected, but that even in the mass and 
body, as well as in the individuals, the inclinations of 
men should frequently be thwarted, their will con- 
trolled, and their passions brought into subjection. 
This can only be done bif a power out of themselves, 
and not, in the exercise of its function, subject to tliat 
will and to those passions which it is its office to bri- 
dle and subdue. In this sense the restraints on men, 
as well as their liberties, are to be reckoned among 
their rights. But as the liberties and the restrictions 
vary with times and circumstances, and admit of in- 
finite modifications, they caiuiot be settled upon any 



abstract rule ; and nothing is bo foolish as to discuss 
them upon that principle. 

The moment you abate anything from the full 
rights of men each to govern himself, and suflfer any 
artificial, positive limitation upon those rights, from 
that moment the whole organization of government 
becomes a consideration of convenience. This it is 
which makes the constitution of a state, and the 
due distribution of its powers, a matter of the most 
delicate and complicated skill. It requires a deep 
knowledge of human nature and human necessities, 
and of the things which facilitate or obstruct the va- 
rious ends which are to be pursued by the mechan- 
ism of civil institutions. The state is to have recruits 
to its strength and remedies to its distempers. "What 
is the use of discussing a man's abstract right to food 
or medicine ? The question is upon the metliod of 
procuring and administering them. In that delibera- 
tion I shall always advise to call in the aid of the 
farmer and the physician, rather than the professor 
of metaphysics. 

The science of constructing a commonwealth, or 
renovating it, or reforming it, is, like every other 
experimental science, not to be taught a priori. Nor 
is it a short experience that can instruct us in that 
practical science; because the real eifects of moral 
causes are not always immediate, but that which m 
the first instance is prejudicial may bo excellent in 
its remoter operation, and its excellence may arise 
even from the ill eifects it produces in the begin- 
ning. The reverse also happens; and very plaus- 
ible schemes, with very pleasing commcnconicnts, 
have often shameful and lamentable conclusions. In 
states there are often some obscure and almost la- 





tent causes, things which appear at first view of little 
moment, on which a very great part of its prosperity 
or adversity may most essentially depend. The sci- 
ence of government being, therefore, so practical in 
itself, and intended for such practical purposes, a 
matter which requires experience, and even more ex- 
perience than r . y person can gain in his whole life, 
however sagacious and observing he may be, it is 
with infinite caution that any man ought to venture 
upon pulling down an edifice which has answered iu 
any tolerable degree for ages the common purposes 
of society, or ou building it up again without having 
models and patterns of approved utility before his 

These metaphysic rights entering into common life, 
like rays of light which pierce into a dense medium, 
are, by the laws of Nature, refracted from their 
straight line. Indeed, in the gross and complicated 
mass of human passions and concerns, the primitive 
rights of men undergo such a variety of refractions 
and reflections that it becomes absurd to talk of 
them as if they continued in the simplicity of their 
original direction. The nature of man is intricate ; 
the objects of society are of the greatest possible com- 
plexity : and therefore no simple disposition or direc- 
tion of power can be suitable either to man's nature 
or to the quality of his afiairs. When I hear the 
simplicity of contrivance aimed at and boasted of in 
any new political constitutions, I am at no loss to de- 
cide that the artificers are grossly ignorant of their 
trade or totally negligent of their duty. The sim- 
ple governments are fundamentally defective, to say 
no worse of them. If you were to contemplate socie- 
ty in but one point of view, all these simple modes 





of polity are infinitely captivating. In effect each 
would answer its single end much more perfectly 
than the more complex is able to attain all its com- 
plex purposes. Bi't it is better that tlie whole should 
be imperfectly and anomalously answered ^.lan that 
while some parts are provided for with great exact- 
ness, others might be totally neglected, or perhaps 
materially injured, by the over-care of a favorite 

The pretended rights of these theorists are all ex- 
tremes ; and in proportion as they are metaphysical- 
ly true, they are morally and politically false. The 
rights of men are in a sort of middle, incapable of 
definition, but not impossible v / be discerned. The 
rights of men in governments are their advantages ; 
and these are often in balance* between differences of 
good, — in compromises sometimes between good and 
evil, and sometimes between evil and evil. Political 
reason is a computing principle : adding, subtracting, 
multiplying, and dividing, morally, and not metaphys- 
ically or mathematically, true moral denominations. 

By these theorists the right of the people is almost 
always sophistically confounded with their power. 
The body of the community, whenever it can come to 
act, can meet with no effectual resistance ; but till 
power pad right are the same, the whole body of them 
has no right inconsistent with virtue, and the first of 
all virtues, prudence. Men have no right to what is 
not reasonable, and to what is not for their benefit ; 
for though a pleasant writer said, " Liceat perire poe- 
tis" when one of them, in cold blood, is said to have 
leaped into the flames of a volcanic revolution, " ar- 
dente.m frigidu» j^nam itmluit" I consider such a 
frolic rather as an unjustifiable poetic license than 

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i I 

I ■ 

L I ■ 

as one of the franchises of Parnassus ; and whether 
he were poet, or divine, or politician, that chose to 
exercise this kind of right, I think that more wise, 
because more charitable, thoughts would urge me 
rather to save the man than to preserve his brazen 
slippers as the monuments of his folly. 

The kind of anniversary sermons to which a great 
part of what I write refers, if men are not shamed 
out of heir present course, in commemorating the 
fact, will cheat many out of the principles and de- 
prive them of the benefits of the Revolution they 
commemorate. I confess to you. Sir, I never liked 
this continual talk of resistance and revolution, or 
the practice of making the extreme medicine of the 
Constitution its daily bread. It renders the habit of 
society dangerously valetudinary ; it is taking peri- 
odical doses of mercury sujlimate, and swallowing 
down repeated provocatives of cantharides to our 
love of liberty. 

This distemper of remedy, grown habitual, relaxes 
and wears out, by a vulgar and prostituted use, the 
spring of that spirit which is to be exerted on great 
occasions. It was in the most patient period of Ro- 
man servitude that themes of tyrannicide made the 
ordinary exercise of boys at school, — cum perimit 
soevos classis numerosa tyrannos. In the ordinary 
state of things, it produces in a country like ours the 
worst effects, even on the cause of that liberty which 
it abuses with the dissoluteness of an extravagant 
speculation. Almost all the high-bred republicans 
of my time have, after a short space, become the 
most decided, thorough-paced courtiers ; they soon 
left the business of a tedious, moderate, but practical 




resistauce, to those of us whom, in the pride and in- 
toxication of their theories, they have slighted as not 
much better than Tories. Hypocrisy, of course, de- 
lights in the most sublime speculations ; for, never 
intending to go beyond speculation, it costs nothing 
to have it magnificent. But even in cases where 
rather levity than fraud was to bo suspected in these 
ranting speculations, the issue has been much the 
same. These professors, finding their extreme prin- 
ciples not applicable to cases which call only for a 
qualified, or, as I may say, civil and legal resistance, 
in such cases employ no resistance at all. It is with 
them a war or a revolution, or it is nothing. Finding 
their schemes of politics not adapted to the state 
of the world in which they live, they often come to 
think lightly of all public principle, and are ready, 
on their part, to abandon for a very trivial interest 
what they find of very trivial value. Some, indeed, 
are of more jteady and persevering natures ; but 
these are eager politicians out of Parliament, who 
have little to tempt them to abandon their favorite 
projects. They have some change in the Church or 
State, or both, constantly i»i their view. When that 
is the case, they are always bad citizens, and per- 
fectly unsure connections. For, considering their 
speculative designs as of infinite value, and the act- 
ual arrangement of the state as of no estimation, they 
are, at best, indifferent about it. They see no merit 
in the good, and no fault in the vicious management 
of public affairs ; they rather rejoice in the latter, as 
more propitious to revolution, ''^hey see no merit or 
demerit in any man, or any action, or any political 
principle, any further than as they may forward or re- 
tard tiieir design of change ; they therefore take up, 




k) I: 

one day, the most violent and stretched prerogative, 
and another time the wildest democratic ideas of free- 
dom, and pass from the one to the other without any 
sort of regard to cause, to person, or to party. 

In France you are now in the crisis of a revolu- 
tion, and in the transit from one form of government 
to another: you cannot see that character of men 
exactly in the same situation in which wo see it in 
this country. With us it is militant, with you it 
is triumphant ; and you know how it can act, when 
its power is commensurate to its will. I would not 
bo supposed to confine those observations to any de- 
scription of men, or to comprehend all men of any 
description within them, — no, far from it ! I am as 
incapable of that injustice as I am of keeping terms 
with those who profess principles of extremes, and 
who, under the name of religion, teach little else than 
wild and dangerous politics. The worst of these poli- 
tics of revolution is this : they temper and harden the 
breast, in order to prepare it for the desperate strokes 
which are sometimes used in extreme occasions. But 
as these occasions may never arrive, the mind receives 
a gratuitous taint ; and the moral sentiments suffer 
not a little, when no political purpose is served by 
the depravation. This sort of people are so taken up 
with their theories about the rights of man, that they 
have totally forgot his nature. Without opening one 
new avenue to the understanding, they have suc- 
ceeded in stopping up those that lead to the heart. 
They have pei'vcrted in themselves, and in tliose that 
attend to them, all the well-placed sympathies of the 
human breast. 

This famous sermon of the Old Jewry breathes 
nothing but this spirit through all the political part. 



Plots, massacres, assassinations, seem to some people 
a trivial price for obtaining a revolution. A cheap, 
bloodless reformation, a guiltless liberty, appear flat 
and vapid to their taste. There must be a great 
change of scene ; there must be a magnificent stage 
effect ; there must be a grand spectacle to rouse the 
imagination, grown torpid with the lazy enjoyment 
of sixty years' sec.dty, and the still unanimating re- 
pose of public prosperity. The preacher found them 
all m the French Revolution. This inspires a juve- 
nile warmth through his whole frame. His enthusi- 
asm kindles as he advances ; and when he arrives at 
his peroration, it is in a full blaze. Tlien viewing, 
from the Pisgah of his pulpit, the free, moral, happy, 
flourishing, and glorious state of France, as in a bird- 
eye landscape of a promised land, he breaks out into 
the following rapture : — 

" What an eventful period is this ! I am thankful 
that I have lived to it ; I could almost say, Lord, rww 
lettest thou thy servant depart in peace, for mine eye» 
have seen thy salvation, — I have lived to see a diffusion 
of knowledge wliich has undermined superstition and 
error. — I have lived to see the rights of men better 
understood than ever, and nations panting for liberty 
which seemed to have lost the idea of it. — I have 
lived to see thirty millions of people, indignant and 
resolute, spurning at slavery, and demandhig liberty 
with an irresistible voice; their king led in triumph, 
and an arbitrary monarch surrendering himself to his 
subjects." * 

* Another of these reverend gentlemen, who was witness to some 
of the spectacles which Paris has lately exhibited, expresses himself 
thus : — "A king dragged in submistive triumph by his conquering subjecti 
b one of those appearances of grandeor which seldom rise in tha 



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i > 

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W *i'VI| 



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Before I proceed further. I have to remark that 
Dr. Price seems rather to overvalue the great acqui- 
sitions of liglit which he has obtained and diffused in 
this age. The last century appears to me to have 
been quite as much enlightened. It had, though in 
a different place, a triumph as memorable as that of 
Dr. Price ; and some of the great preachers of that 
period partook of it as eagerly as he has dor.e in the 
triumph of France. On the trial of the Reverend 
Hugh Peters for high treason, it was deposed, that, 
when King Charles was broug! Tiondon for his 

trial, the Apostle of Liberty in that day conducted the 
triumph. " I saw," says the witness, " his Majesty 
in the coach with six horses, and Peters riding before 
the king triumphing.''^ Dr. Price, when he talks as 
if he had made a discovery, only follows a precedent ; 
for, after the commencement of the king's trial, this 
precursor, the same Dr. Peters, concluding a long 
prayer at the royal chapel at Whitehall, (he had very 
triumphantly chosen his place,) said, " I have prayed 
and preached these twenty years ; and now I may say 
with old Simeon, Lord, now lettest thou thy servant 
depart in, peace, for mine eyes have seen thy salva- 
tion." * Peters had not the fruits of his prayer ; for 
he neither departed so soon as he wished, nor in 
peace. He became (what I heartily hope none of 
his followers may be in this country) himself a sac- 
rifice to the triumph which he led as pontiff. Tliey 
dealt at the Restoration, perhaps, too hardly with this 
poor good man. But we owe it to his memory and 

prospect of human affairs, and which, daring the remainder of mj 
life, I shall think of with wonder and gratification." These gentle- 
men agree marvellously in their feelings. 
* State Trials, Vol. II. p. 360, 363. 



his sufferings, that he had as much illumination and 
as much zeal, and had as effectually undermined all 
the superstition and error which might impede the 
great business he was engaged in, as any who follow 
and repeat after him in this age, which would assume 
to itself an exclusive title to the knowledge of the 
rights of men, and all the glorious consequences of 
that knowledge. 

After this sally of the preacher of the Old Jewry, 
which differs only in place and time, but agrees per- 
fectly with the spirit and letter of the rapture of 
1648, the Revolution Society, the fabricators of gov- 
ernments, the heroic band of cashierers of monarchs, 
electors of sovereigns, and leaders of kings in tri- 
umph, strutting with a proud consciousness of tlie 
difiiasion of knowledge, of which every member had 
obtained so large a share in the donative, were in 
haste to make a generous diSusion of the knowledge 
they had thus gratuitously received. To make this 
bountiful communication, they adjourned from the 
church in the Old Jewry to the London Tavern, 
where the same Dr. Price, in whom the fumes of his 
oracular tripod were not entirely evaporated, moved 
and carried the resolution, or address of congratula- 
tion, transmitted by Lord Stanhope to the National 
Assembly of France. 

I find a preacher of the Gospel profaning the beau- 
tiful and prophetic ejaculation, commonly called 
" Nunc dimittis" made on the fii .t presentation of 
our Saviour in the temple, and applying it, with an 
inhuman and unnatural rapture, to the most horrid, 
atrocious, and afflicting spectacle that perhaps ever 
was exhibited to tlio pity and indignation of man- 
kind. This " leading in triumph" a thing in its best 






F> i 

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i . 

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r ! 


). ,. 

form unmanly and irreligious, which fills our preach- 
er with such \inhallowed transports, must shock, I 
believe, the moral taste of every well-born mind. 
Several English were the stupefied and indignant 
spectators of that triumph. It was (unless we have 
been strangely deceived) a spectacle more resembling 
a procession of American savages entering into On- 
ondaga after some of their murders called victories, 
and leading into hovels hung round with scalps their 
captives overpowered with the scoffs and buffets of 
women as ferocious as themselves, much more than it 
resembled the triumphal pomp of a civilized martial 
nation; — if a civilized nation, or any men wlio h"d 
a sense of generosity, were capable of a personal li 
umph over the fallen and afflicted. 

This, my dear Sir, was not the triumph >i ''r».'.iee. 
I must believe, that, as a nation, it overwiwln 3d you 
with shame and horror. I must believe that the 
National Assembly find themselves in a state of the 
greatest humiliation in not being able to punish the 
authors of this triumph or the actors in it, and that 
they are in a situation in which any inquiry they 
may make pon the subject must be destitute even 
of the appearance of liberty or impartiality. The 
ajKtlogy of that assembly is found in their situation ; 
but wlien we approve what they must bear, it is in 
us the degenerate choice of a vitiated mind. 

With a compelled appearance of deliberation, they 
vote under the dominion of a stem necessity. They 
sit in the heart, es it were, of a foreign republic: 
they have their residence in a city whose constitution 
has emanated neither from the charter of their king 
nor from their legislativ«» power. There they are 
surrounded by an army not raised either by the au- 



thority of tlioir crown or bj tlioir command, and 
which, if they should order to dissolve itself, would 
iusttintly dissolve them. There they sit, after a gang 
of assassins liad driven away some hundreds of the 
members ; wliilst those who held the same moderate 
principles, with more patience or better hope, con- 
tinued every day exposed to outrageous insults and 
murderous threats. There a majority, sometimes 
real, sometimes pretended, captive itself, compels a 
captive king to issue as royal edicts, at third liand, 
the polluted nonsense of their most licentious and 
giddy coffee-houses. It is notorious that all their 
measures are decided before they are dcl)at(!d. It is 
beyond doubt, that, under the terror of the bayonet, 
and the lamp-post, and the torch to tlioir houses, 
they are oblis^od to adopt all the crude and desperate 
measures suggested by clubs composed of a mon- 
strous medley of all conditions, tongues, and nations. 
Among these are found persons in comparison of 
whom Catiline would be thought scrupulous, and 
Cethegus a man of sobriety and moderation. Nor is 
it in tliese clubs alone that the public measures are 
deformed into monsters. They undergo a previous 
distortion in academies, intended as so many semi- 
naries for these clubs, which are set up in all the 
places of public resort. In these meetings of all 
sorts, every counsel, in proportion as it is daring 
and violent and perfidious, is taken for the mark of 
superior genius. Humanity and compassion arc rid- 
iculed as the fruits of superstition and ignorance. 
Tenderness to indinduals is considered as treason to 
the public. Liberty is always to be estimated per- 
fect as property is rendered insecure. Amidst a,ssas- 
siuution, massacre, and confiscation, perpetrated or 

VOL. III. 21 




1 1 





I i 







meditated, rU' y arc ibrtning plans for the good order 
of fwturo soc ity. E-u'.acing in their arms the car- 
casnes of base .rimin-U >nd promoting tlieir relations 
on the title (f liicir oll-ncos, they drive hundreds of 
virtuous persons to the same end, by forcing them to 
subsist by b.-rgary or by crime. 

The Assembly, their organ, acts before them the 
farce of deliberation with as little decency as liberty. 
They act like the comedians of a fair, before a riotous 
audience ; ilicy act amidst the tumultuoiis cries of a 
mixed mob of ferocious men, and of women lost to 
shame, who, according to their insolent fancies, di- 
rect, control, applaud, explode them, and sometimes 
mix and take their seats amongst them, — domineer- 
ing over them with a strange mixture of servile petu- 
lance and proud, presumptuous authority. As they 
have inverted order in all things, the gallery is in the 
place of the house. This assembly, which overthrows 
kings and kingdoms, has not even the physiognomy 
and aspect of a grave legislative body, — nee color irn- 
peril, nee from erat ulla senatHs. They have a power 
given to them, like that of the Evil Principle, to sul)- 
vert and destroy, — but none to construct, except such 
machines as may bo fitted for further subversion and 
further destruction. 

Who is it tliat admires, and from the heart is 
attached to national rcpresentativ(> assemblies, Ijut 
must turn with horror and disgust from such a pro 
fane burlesq't and abominable perversion of that 
sacred institui Lovers of monarchy, lovers of re- 
publics, must alike abhor it. The members <f your 
Assembly must themselves groan under the tyranny 
of which they have all the shame, none of tlf direc- 
tion, and little of the profit. lam sure many of the 



meinbcrp who compow even use majoritj of that body 
must fci ' as I do, notw hstandi; the applauses nf 
the Rcvf tttion Society. Misen kinp' ;;-ienil>le 
assembly How must tL a««t' . v be (»■ iitly scsui- 
dalized with those of their memi. rs whi -mid call 
a day wh oh seeniuc to b the sun oiit heaven 
" </n beau jour"'.* How must they be inwardly 
indignant t h«'aring other;; who thought fit to de- 
clare t) them, that the vessel of the state would 
fly forward in her course towards regeneration with 
more speed than ever," from the stiff gale of r-oason 
atid murder wliich preceded our preacher'* triumph . 
Wbat mus-i they have felt, v hilst, with o ward nar 
tience and inward ii.dignai on, they heard oi Jie 
slaughter ol innocent gentlf'men in their ho ■<, 
that " the blood spilled was >t the most ur*- ' ' 
What must they hav felt, w*;«n they were bf^icr 
by complaints of disorders which shook heir i ,ry 
to its foundations, at Ijeing compelled c oily - U 
the complainants that tl>ey were under th* pr< etion 
of the law, a id that *' oy wouJ 1 address tl. ki . (r 
captive king, to cause the laws to he t uced for 
their protection, when liie enslaveo listei - of that 
captivo L iiU had formally notified j ih' m t a mere 
were neither 'aw uoi authority ^r lower lef t 
protect ! must they have fe! . af 
as a t lioituLiun on the present new y 
their < .^,iivo king to rget the storm 
last, 1 accoiiiit of thr _Teat good whit 
to prod 'ice ro lus people, — to the fmplet' ^ 
of whicii good the ad^ mrned = .e practical 
stratioiis of their loyalty, assuring him of thei*- obedi- 
ence when he should no longer possess any authority 
to command ! 

• 6thof October, 1733 





j1 the 

- likely 








This address was made with much good-nature and 
affection, to be sure. But among the revolutions in 
Prance must be reckoned a considerable revolution in 
their ideas of politeness. In England we are said to 
learn manners at second-hand from your side of the 
water, and that we dress our behavior in tlie frip- 
pery of France. If so, we are still in the old cut, 
and have not so far conformed to the new Parisian 
mode of good breeding as to think it quite in the 
most refined strain of delicate compliment (whether 
in condolence or congratulation) to say, to the most 
humiliated creature that crawls iipon the earth, that 
gi'eat public benefits are derived from the murder of 
his servants, the attempted assassination of himself 
and of his wife, and the mortification, disgrace, and 
degradation that he has personally suffered. It is a 
topic of consolation which our ordinary of Newgate 
would bj too humane to use to a criminal at the foot 
of the gallows. I should have thouglit that the hang- 
man of Paris, now that he is liberalized by the vote of 
the National Assembly, and is allowed his rank and 
arms in the Herald's College of the rights of men, 
would be too generous, too gallant a man, too full of 
the sense of his now dignity, to employ that cutting 
consolation to any of tlie persons whom the leze-nation 
miglit bring under the administration of his executive. 


A man is Mien indeed, when he is thus flattered. 
The anodyne draught of oblivion, thus drugged, is 
well calculated to preserve a galling wakefulness, 
and to feed the living ulcer of a corroding memory. 
Thus to administer the opiate potion of amnesty, 
powdered with all the ingredients of scorn and con- 
tempt, is to hold to his lips, instead of " the balm of 



hurt minds," the cup of human misery full to tlie 
brim, and to force him to drink it to the dr^gs. 

Yielding to reasons at least as forcible as ti\oso 
which were so delicately urged in tlie compliment on 
the new jc'ir, the king of France win probably en- 
deavor to forget these events and that compliment. 
But History, who keeps a durable record of all our 
acts, and exorcises her awful censure over the pro- 
ceedings of all sorts of sovereigns, will not forget 
either those events, or the era of this liberal refine- 
ment in the intercourse of mankind. History will 
record, that, on the morning of the sixtli of October, 
1789, the king and queen of France, after a day of 
confusion, alarm, dismay, and slaughter, hiy down, 
under the pledged security of public faith, to indulge 
nature in a few hours of respite, and troubled, melan- 
choly repose. From this sleep the queen was first 
startled by the voice of the sentinel at her door, who 
cried out to her to save herself by flight, — that this 
was the last proof of fidelity he could give, — that 
they were upon him, and he was dead. Instantly ho 
was cut down. A band of cruel ruffians and assass^in^, 
reeking with his blood, rushed into the chamber of 
the queen, and pierced with a hundred strokes of 
bayonets and poniards the bed, from whence this pei- 
secuted woiuan had but just time to fly almost naked, 
and, through ways unknown to the murderers, had 
escaped *o seek refuge at the feet of a king and hus- 
band not secure of his own life for a moment. 

This king, to say no more of him, and tliis queen, 
and their infant children, (who once would have 
been the pride and hope of a great and generous peo- 
ple,) were then forced to abandon the sanctuary of 
the most splendid palace in the world, which they left 





swimming in blood, polluted by massacre, and strewed 
with bcattered limbs and mutilated carcasses. Thenco 
they were conducted into the capital of their king- 
dom. Two had been selected from the unprovoked, 
unresisted, promiscuous slaughter which was made 
of the gentlemen of birth and family who composed 
the king's body-guard. These two gentlemen, with 
all the parade of an execution of justice, were cruelly 
and publicly dragged to the block, and beheaded in 
the great court of the palace. Their heads were 
stuck ipcn spears, and led the procession ; whilst the 
royal ca. stives who followed in the train were slowly 
moved aiong, amidst tlie horrid yells, and shrilling 
screams, and frantic dances, and infamous contume- 
lies, and all the unutterable abominations of the furies 
of hell, in the abused shape of the vilest of women. 
After they had been made to taste, drop by drop, 
more than the bitterness of death, in the slow torture 
of a journey of twelve miles, protracted to six hours, 
they were, under a guard composed of those very 
soldiers who had thus conducted them through this 
famous triumph, lodged in one of the old palaces of 
Paris, now converted into a Bastile for kings. 

Is this a triumph to be consecrated at altars, to be 
commemorated with grateful thanksgiving, to be of- 
fered to the Divine Humanity with fervent prayer 
and enthusiastic ejaculation ? — These Theban and 
Thracian orgies, acted in France, and applauded only 
in the Old Jewry, I assure you, kindle prophetic en- 
thusiasm in the .uinds but of very few people in this 
kingdom: although a saint and apo; ;le, who may 
have revelations of his own, and who has so com- 
pletely vanquished all the mean superstitions of the 
heart, may incline to think it pious and decorous to 



compare it with the entrance into the world of the 
Prince of Peace, proclaimed in an holy temple by a 
venerable sage, and not long before not worse an- 
nounced by the voice of angels to the quiet inno- 
cence of shepherds. 

At first I was at a loss to account for this fit of 
unguarded transport. I knew, indeed, that the suf- 
ferings of monarchs make a delicious repast to some 
sort of palates. There were reflections which might 
serve to keep this appetite within some bounds of 
temperance. But when I took one circumstance into 
my consideration, I was obliged to confess that much 
allowance ought to be made for the society, and that 
the temptation was too strong for common discretion : 
I mean, the circumstance of the lo Paean of the tri- 
umph, the animating cry which called for "aH the 
BISHOPS to be hanged on the lamp-posts," * might 
well have brought forth a burst of enthusiasm on the 
foreseen consequences of this happy day. I allow to 
so much enthusiasm some little deviation from pru- 
dence. I allow this prophet to break fortli into 
liymns of joy and thanksgiving on an event whicli 
appears like the precursor of the Millennium, and 
the projected Fifth Monarcliy, in the destruction of 
all Cimrch establishments. There was, however, (as 
in all human affairs there is,) n the midst of this 
joy, something to exercise the patience of these wor- 
thy gentlemen, and to try the long-suffering of their 
faith. The actual murder of the king and queen, 
and their child, was wanting to the other auspicious 
circumstances of this "beautiful day." The actual 
murder of the bishops, though called for by so ma- 
ny holy ejaculations, was also wanting. A group of 

• " Tous les fevfiques it la lanteme 1 " 




y { 

regicide and sacrilegious slaughter was, indeed, bold 
ly sketched, but it was only sketched. It unhappily 
was left unfinishfxl, iu this great history-piece of tho 
massacre of innocents. What hardy pencil of a great 
master, from the school of the rights of men, will 
finish it, is to be seen hereafter. The age has not 
yet the complete benefit of that diffiision of knowl- 
edge that has undermmed siiperstition and error ; 
and the king of France wants another object or two 
to cmsign to oblivion, in consideration of all the 
good which is to arise frjm his own sufferings, and 
the patriotic crimes of an enlightened age.* 

* It is proper here to refer to a letter written upon this subject by 
an eyewitness. That eyewitness was one of the most honest, intel- 
ligent, and eloquent members of the National Assembly, one of the 
most active and zealous reformers of the state. He was obliged to 
secede from the Assembly; and he afterwards became a voluntary 
exile, on account of the horrors of this pious triumph, and the dis- 
positions of men, who, profiting of crimes, if not causing them, have 
taken the lead in public affairs. 

Extract o/M. de LaUy ToUendal's Second Later to a Friend. 
"Parlous du parti que j'ai pris; il est bien justitie' dans ma con- 
science. — Ni cctte ville coupable, ni cette assemlile'e plus coupablo 
encore, ne me'ritoient que je me justifle ; mais j'ai k cieur que voiis, ct 
les personnes qui penscnt comme vous, ne me condamnent pas. — 
Ma sant^, je vous jure, me rendoit mes fonctions impossibles ; inais 
meme en les mettant de cotd il a e'te' au-dcssus dn mes forces de sup- 
porter plus longtems I'horreur que me causoit ee sang, — ccs tetes,— 
cctte reine presoue e'gorgit, — ce roi, amene' esdave, entrant a, Paris 
au milieu de ses assassins, et pnfcddd des tetes de scs malheureux 
gardes, — ces pcrfides janissaires, ces assassins, ces feiniiies cannibalcs, 
— ce cri de tocs le8 fevfiquES X la lantkrne, dans le moment 
oil le roi entrc sa capitate avec deux ^veques de son e mscil dans sa 
voiture, — un coup de fusil, que j'ai vu tirer dans un des carrosses de la 
reine, — M. Bailly appellant cela un beau jour, — I'assemble'e ayant de- 
clare froidement le matin, qu'il n'e'toit pn-s de sa dignitd d'aller toute 
cntiere cnvirDiiner le roi, — M. Mirabeau disant impnnc'ment dans 




Altho\igh this work of our new light and knowl- 
edge did not go to the length that in all probability 
it was intended it should be carried, yet I must think 
that such treatment of any human creatures must be 
shocking to any but those who are made for accom- 
plishing revolutions. But I cannot stop here. Influ- 
enced by the inborn feelings of my nature, and not 

cette asscniblc'e, qtie le vaisscau de Vcm, loin d'etre arretd dans sa 
course, s'elau.croit avec plus de rapidite que jamais vers sa regenera- 
tion,— M. B^riiave, riaut avec lui, quand des flots de sang couloient 
auto'ur de nous,-l. vcrtucux Mounier* (fchappant pnr miracle k 
Tingt assassins, qui a^^icnt voulu faire de sa te'e un trophec dc plus: 
VoFli cc (lui me fit jurer de ne plus mettro le pied dam cette cavenu 
d'Antro,m,>hay,s [the National Assembly], oU je n'avois plus de force 
d'e'lever la voix, oU depuis six semaines je I'avois e'levee en vain. 

" Moi, Mouuier, ct tous les honnetes gens, ont pense que le dormer 
eflbrt i faire pour le bien etoit d'en sortir. Aucuiie idee de crainte no 
g'est approclio-e dc moi. Je rougirois de m'c . .i.fendrc. J'avois en- 
core rcvft sur la route de la part de ce peuplc, moins coupable que 
ceux qui Tout enivre de fureur, des acclamations, ct des applaudisse- 
ments, dont d'autres auroient dte flattds, et qui m'ont fait fremir 
C'est i I'indignation, c'est k I'horrcur, c'est aux convulsions phy- 
siques, que le seal aspect du sang me fait eprouver que j'ai cede. On 
brave une seule n.ort ; on la bravo plusicurs fois, quand cUe pcut etre 
utile. Mais aucune puissance sous le del, mais aucimc opinion pu- 
blique on privce n'ont le droit dc me condamncr Usoulliir inutilcment 
miUe supplices par minute, et a perir do dosespoir, de rag^ au milieu 
dos tno,ni>Ucs, du crime que je n'ai pu arreter. lis me proscr.ront, lU 
contisquerunt nus bicns. Je !al,ourcrai la torro, ct jc nc Ics vcrra. 
plus. Voimmajustificition. Vol- jurrez la lire, la montrer, la bus- 
scr copier ; tant pis pour ccux qui ne la comprendront pas ; ee ne sera 
alors moi (\n\ auroit cu tort de la leur donner." 

This militarv man had not so good nerves as the peaceable gentle- 
men of the oid Jewry. -See Mons. Mounior's narrative of these 
transactions: a man also of honor and virtue and talents, and there- 
fore a fugitive. 

• }J. D. M. Mmmior was thou 8i*ak.T of the Nutloni.l Assembly. He has »ln» 
been obliged to live in exile, though one of the firmest ass r'.Mr* of libtrty. 

I -■! 





• U 

being illuminated by a single ray of this new-Epning 
modern light, I confess to you, Sir, tliat tho exalted 
rank of the persons sufiFering., and particularly the 
sex, the beauty, and the amiable qualities of tho de- 
scendant of so many kings and emperors, with the 
tender age of royal infants, insensible only through 
infancy and innocence of the cruel outrages to which 
their parents were exposed, instead of being a sub- 
ject of exultation, adds not a little to my sensibility 
on that most melancholy occasion. 

I hear that the august person who was the prin- 
cipal object of our preacher's triumph, though he 
supported himself, fait much on that shameful occa- 
sion. As a man, it became him to feel for his wife 
and his children, and the faithful guards of his per- 
son that were massacred in cold blood about him; 
as a prince, it became him to feel for the strange and 
frightful transformation of his civilized subjects, and 
to be more grieved for them than solicitous for him- 
self. It derogates little from his fortitude, while it 
adds infinitely to the honor of his humanity. I am 
very sorry tc say it, very sorry indeed, that such 
personages are in a situation in which it is not un- 
becoming in us to praise the virtues of the great. 

I hear, and I rejoice to hear, that tho great lady, 
the other object of the triumph, has borne that day, 
(one is interested that beings made for suffering 
should suffer well,) and that she bears all the suc- 
ceeding days, that she bears the imprisonment of her 
husband, and her own captivity, and the exile of her 
friends, and the insulting adulntion of addresses, and 
the whole weight of her accumulated wrongs, with 
a serene patience, in a nuuiner suited to her rank 
and race, and becoming tho offspring of a sovereign 

Aliirw :!nto:nttte 
Fn,m an i-n(:...vini; !■> l).mt;uin, altt-r t!.. |unuiri^ b> \Itnc. I^l.n.n 



ll li 



. i 




distinguished for her piety and her courage; that, 
like her, she has lofty Bentimonts ; that she feels with 
the dignity of a loraau matron ; that iu the last ex- 
tremity she will save herself from the last disgrace ; 
and that, if she must fall, she will fall by no ignoble 

It is now sixteen or seventeen years since I saw 
the quecu of France, then the Dauphiness, at "Ver- 
sailles ; and surely never lighted on this orb, which 
she hardly seemed to touch, a more delightful vision. 
1 haw her just above the horizon, decorating and 
cheering the elevated sphere she just began to move 
in, — glittering like the morning-star, full of life and 
splendor and joy. Oh ! what a revolution ! and what 
an heart must I have, to contemplate without emotion 
that elevation and that fall! Little did I dream, 
when she added titles of veneration to those of en- 
thusiastic, distant, respectful love, that she should 
ever be obliged to carry the sharp antidote against 
disgrace concealed in that bosom ! little did I dream 
that I should have lived to see such disasters fallen 
upon her in a nation of gallant men, in a nation of 
men of honor, and of cavaliers ! I thought ten thou- 
sand swords must have leaped from their scabbards 
to avenge even a look that threatened her with insult. 
But the age of chivalry is gone. That of sophisters, 
economists, and calculators has succeeded ; and the 
glory of Europe is extinguished forever. Never, 
never more, shall we behold that generous loyalty to 
rank and sex, that proud submission, that dignified 
obedience, that subordination of the heart, which kept 
alive, even in servitude itself, the spirit of an exalted 
freedom ! The unbought grace of life, the cheap de- 
fence of nations, the nurse of manly sentiment and 





I I 

in : 



t1 ! 

heroic enterprise, is gone ! It is gone, that sciisibilit; 
of princiiile, that chastity of honor, whicli felt a stain 
like a wound, which inspired courage whilst it miti- 
gated furoeity, which ennobled whatever it touched, 
and under wliich vice itt*elf lost half its evil by losing 
all its grossness ! 

This mixed system of opinion and sentiment hud 
its origin in the ancient chivalry ; and the principle, 
though varied in its appearance by the varying ^tato 
uf human atfuirs, subsisted and influenced througli a 
long succession of generations, even to the time wo 
live in. If it should ever be totally extin-jni'^hnd, the 
loss, I fear, will bo great. It is this whicls b given 
its character to modern Europe. It is this ,. liich has 
distinguislicd it under all its forms of government, 
and distinguished it to its advantage, from the states 
of Asia, and possibly from those states which flourish- 
ed in the most brilliant periods of the antique world. 
It was this, which, without confounding ranks, had 
produciid a noble equality, and handed it down 
througii all the gradations of social life. It was this 
opinior. wiiich mitigated kings into companions, and 
raif-cd private men to be fellows with kings. With- 
out force or opposition, it subdued the fierceness of 
pride and power ; it obliged sovereigns to submit to 
the soft collar of social esteem, compelled stern au- 
thority to submit to elegance, and gave a domination, 
vanquii<lier of laws, to be subdued by manners. 

But now all is to be changed. All the pleasing 
illusions which made power gentle and obedience 
liberal, which harmonized the different shades of life, 
and which by a bland assimilation incorporated in- 
to politics the sentiments which beautify and soften 
private society, are to be dissolved by this new con- 




quoring cmj)ire of li.'lit and rcrxson. All fV ' il'ccnt 
drap'-ry of life is to bo rudely l.-ni off. All tlio sn- 
peraildcd ideas, f irni>^hod fr 'n. t.ho vardr.'-- of a 
moral imagination, which the lu.-art '^^l^ ;\\ 1 thfl 
uiidorstandinjr ratifies, as nccossaiy to cnor th- dv 
fects of our i .^ked, i-'iiverlng nntnro, and to rni^e it 
to din;nity in our own estimation, arc to I o exploded, 
UK ridieulous, absurd, and antitiuatcd fashion. 

On this sch^mo of things, n king is but a luui, a 
qil'^.Mi is but a woman, a woman . but an I'limal, — 
and III animal not of the highest order. Al' homngo 
paid to the sex in gen r.d as si;H . md without dis- 
tinet views, is to bo rogirded as romance and folly. 
Regicide, and parricide, and sacrilege, arc but fictions 
of superstition, corrupting jurisprudence by destroy- 
ing it« simplicity. Tlio murder of a k ig, or a (jueMi, 
or a bishop, or a father, arc only common homicide, 
— and if the people are by any chance or in any way 
gainers by it, a sort of homicide mucii the most par- 
donable, and into which we ought not to make too 
severe a scrutiny. 

On tlio scheme of tliis barbarous philosophy, wliicli 
is the -ff-nring of cold hearts and muddy understand- 
ings, and which is as void of solid wisdon as it is 
destitute of ail taste and elegance, laws are to be 
supported only by their own terrors, and by tlio con- 
cern which each individual may find in them from 
his own private speculations, or can spare to them 
from his own private intu-ests. In the groves of 
their academy, at the e : \ of every visto, you see 
nothing hut the gallows. Nothing is left which en- 
gages the affections on the jiart of the commonwealth. 
On the principles of this mechanic philosophy, our 
institutions can never be embodied, if I may use the 








expression, in persons, — so as to create in us love, 
veneration, admiration, or attachment. Bnt that 
sort of reason which banishes the affections is inca- 
i :il!j of filling their place. These public affections, 
combined with manners, are required somet'mes as 
supplements, sometimes as correctives, always as aids 
to law. The precept given by a wise man, as well as 
a great critic, for the construction of poems, is equal- 
ly tnie as to states : — " Nim satis est pulchra esse poe- 
mata, diilcia svnto." Tliere ought to be a system of 
manners in every nation which a well-formed mind 
would be disposed to relish. To make us love our 
country, our country ought to be lovely. 

But power, of some kind or other, will survive the 
shock in which manners and opinions perish ; and it 
will find other and worse means for its support. 
Tlie usurpation, which, in order to subvert ancient 
institutions, has destroyed ancient principles, will 
hold power by arts similar to those by which it has 
acquired it. When the old feudal and chivalrous 
spirit ot fealty, which, by freeing kings from fear, 
freed both kings and subjects from the precautions of 
tyranny, shall be extinct in the minds of men, plots 
and assassinations will be anticipated by preventive 
murder and preventive confiscation, and that long 
roll of grim and bloody maxims which form the po- 
litical code of all power not standing on its own hon- 
or and the honor of those who are to obey it. Kings 
will be tyrants from policy, when subjects are rebels 
from principle. 

When ancient opinions and mles of life are taken 
away, the loss cannot possibly lie estimated. From 
that moment we have no compass to govern us, nor 
can we know distinctly to what port we steer. Eu- 



rope, undoubtedly, taken in a mass, was in a flour- 
ishing condition the day on which your Revolution 
was completed. How much of that prosperous state 
was owing to the spirit of our old manners and opin- 
ions is not easy to say ; but as such causes cannot be 
indifferent in their operation, we must presume, that, 
on the whole, their operation was beneficial. 

We are but too apt to consider things in the state 
in which we find them, without sufficiently adverting 
to the causes by which they have been produced, and 
possibly may be upheld. Nothing is more certain 
than that our manners, our civilization, and all the 
good things which are connected with manners and 
with civilization, have, in this European world of 
ours, depended for ages upon two principle!!, and 
were, indeed, the result of both combined : I mean the 
spirit of a gentleman, and the spirit of religion. The 
nobility and the clergy, the one by profession, and the 
other by patronage, kept learning in existence, even 
in the midst of arms and confusions, and whilst gov- 
ernments were rather in their causes than formed. 
Learning paid back what it received to nobility and 
to priesthood, and paid it with usury, by enlarging 
their ideas, and by furnishing their minds. Happy, 
if they had all continued to know their indissoluble 
union, and their proper place ! Happy, if learning, 
not debauched by ambition, had been satisfied to con- 
tinue the instructor, and not aspired to be the mas- 
ter ! A-long with its natural protectors and guardians, 
learning will be cast into the mire and trodden down 
under the hoofs of a swinish mdltitude.* 

(» ■ 

• See the fate of Bailly and Condorcet, supposed to be here par- 
ticularly alluded to. Compare the circumstances of the trial and exe- 
cution of the former with this prediction. 


i * 




'1 * 

If, as I suspect, modern letters owe more than tlicy 
are always willing to own to ancient manners, so do 
other interests which we value full as much as thoy 
are worth. Even commerce, and trade, and manu- 
facture, the gods of our economical politicians, are 
themselves perliaps hut creatures, arc themselves 
but effects, which, as first causes, we choose to wor- 
ship. They certainly grow under the same sliade in 
which learning flourished. They, too, may decay with 
their natural protecting principles. Witli you, for 
the present at least, they all threaten to disappear to- 
gether. Whore trade and manufactures arc wanting 
to a people, and the spirit of nobility and religion 
remains, sentiment supplies, r.nd not always ill sup- 
plies, their place; but if commerce and the arts 
should be lost in an experiment to try how well a 
state may stand without these old fundamental prin- 
ciples, what sort of a thing must be a nation of gross, 
stupid, ferocious, and at the same time poor and sor- 
did barbarians, destitute of religion, lienor, or manly 
pride, possessing nothing at present, and hoping for 
nothing hereafter? 

I wish you may not be going fast, and by the 
shortest cut, to that horrible and disgustful situation. 
Already there appears a poverty of conception, a 
coarseness and vulgarity, in all the proceedings of 
the Assembly and of all their instnictors. Tlieir lib- 
erty is not liberal. Their science is presumptuous 
ignorance. Their humanity is savage and brutal. 

It is not clear whether in England we learned 
tliose grand and decorous principles and manners, 
of which considerable traces yet remain, from you, 
or whether you took them from us. But to you, I 
think, we trace them best. You seem to me to bo 




gmtis incunabula mstrce. France has always more or 
less influenced manners in England; and when your 
fountain is choked up and polluted, the stream will 
n«;t run long or not run clear with us, or perhaps 
with any nation. This gives all Europe, in my opin- 
ion, but too close and connected a concern in what 
is done in France. Excuse mo, therefore, if I have 
dwelt too long on the atrocious spectacle of the sixth 
of October, 1789, or have given too much scope to 
the reflections which have arisen in my mind on oc- 
casion of tlie most important of all revolutions, which 
may be dated from that day : I mean a revolution in 
sentiments, manners, and moral opinions. As thincs 
now stand, with everything respectable destroyed witli- 
oiit us, and an attempt to destroy within us every 
principle of respect, one is almost forced to apologize 
for harboring the common feelings of men. 

Why do I feel so differently from the Reverend 
Dr. Price, and those of his lay flock who will choose 
to adopt the sentiments of his discourse? — For this 
plain reason : Because it is natural I should ; because 
we are so made as to be affected at such spectacles 
with melancholy sentiments upon the unstable con- 
dition of mortal prosperity, and the tremendous un- 
certainty of human greatness; because in those natu- 
ral feelings we learn great lessons ; because in events 
like these our passions instruct our reason ; because, 
when kings are liuilod from their thrones by the 
Supreme Director of tliis great drama, and become 
tlie objects of insult to the base and of pity to the 
good, we behold such disasters in tlie moral as wo 
should behold a miracle in the ]>hysical onhn- of 
things. We aro alarmed into reflection; our minds 


V ! ' 

^ J 






(as it lias long since been observed ) are purified bj 
terror and pi*y ; our weak, unthinking pride is hum- 
bled under the dispensations of a mysterious wisdom. 
Some tears might be drawn from me, if such a spec- 
tacle were exhibited on the stage. I should be truly 
ashamed of finding in myself that superficial, theatric 
sense of painted distress, whilst I could exult over it 
hi real life. With such a perverted mind, I could 
never venture to show my face at a tragedy. People 
would think the tears that Garrick formerly, or that 
Siddons not long since, have extorted from me, were 
the tears of hypocrisy ; I should know them to be 
the tears of folly. 

Indeed, the theatre is a better school of moral sen- 
timents than churches where the feelings of human- 
ity are thus outraged. Poets who have to deal with 
an audience not yet graduated in the school of the 
rights of men, and who must apply themselves to the 
moral constitution of the heart, would not dare to 
produce such a triumph as a matter of exultation. 
There, where men follow their natural impulses, they 
would not bear the odious maxims of a Machiavelian 
policy, whether applied to the attainment of monarch- 
ical or democratic tyranny. They would reject them 
on the modern, as they once did on the ancient stage, 
where they could not bear even the hypothetical 
proposition of such wickedness in the mouth of a per- 
sonated tyrant, though suitable to the character he 
sustained. No theatric audience in Athens would 
bear what has been borne in the midst of the real 
tragedy of this triumphal day : a principal actor 
weigliing, as it were in scales hung in a shop of 
horrors, so much actual crime against so mucli con- 
tingent advantage, — and after putting in and out 







weights, declaring that the balance was on the side 
of the advantages. They would not bear to see the 
crimes of new democracy posted as in a ledger araJnst 
the crimes of old despotism, and the book-keepers 
of politics finding democracy still in debt, but by no 
means unable or unwilling to pay the balance. In 
the theatre, the first intuitive glance, without any 
elaborate process of reasoning, would show that tliis 
method of political computation would justify every 
extent of crime. They would see, that, on tiiose pi'in- 
ciples, even where the very worst acts were not perpe- 
trated, it was owing rather to the fortune of the con- 
spirators than to their parsimony in the expenditure 
of treachery and blood. Tliey would soon see tliat 
criminal means, once tolerated, are soon preferred. 
They present a shorter cut to the object than through 
the liighway of the moral virtues. Justifying perfidy 
and murder for public benefit, public benefit would 
soon become the pretext, and perfidy and murder the 
end, — until rapacity, malice, revenge, and fear more 
dreadful than revenge, could satiate their insatiable 
appetites. Such must be the consequences of losing. 
in the splendor of these triumphs of the rights of 
men, all natural sense of wrong and right. 

But the reverend pastor exults in this " leading 
in triumph," because, truly, Louis the Sixteenth was 
" an arbitrary monarch " : that is, in other words, 
neither more nor less than because he was Louis the 
Sixteenth, and because ho had the misfortune to be 
born king of France, with the prerogatives of which 
a long line of ancestors, and a long acquiescence of 
the people, without any act of his, had put him in 
possession. A misfortune it has indeed turned out 
to him, that he was born king of France. But mis- 

3. I' 









fortune is not crime, nor is indiscretion always the 
greatest guilt. I shall never think that a prince, the 
acts of whose whole reign were a series of concessions 
to his suhjects, who was willing to relax his author- 
ity, to remit liis prerogatives, to call his people to a 
share of freedom not known, perhaps not desired, by 
their ancestors, — such a prince, though he should 
be subject to the common frailties attached to men 
and to princes, though he should have once thought 
it necessary to provide force against the desperate 
designs manifestly carrying on against his person 
and the remnants of his authority, — though all tliia 
sliould be taken into consideration, I sliall be led 
with great difficulty to think ho deserves the cruel 
and insulting triumph of Paris, and of Dr. Price. I 
tremble for the cause of liberty, from such an exam- 
ple to kings. I tremble for the cause of humanity, 
in the unpunished outrages of the most wicked of 
mankind. But there are some people of that low 
and degenerate fiit^hion of mind that they look up 
witli a sort of complacent awe and admiration to 
kings who know to keep iinn in their seat, to hold 
a strict hand over their sulyects, to assert their pre- 
rogative, and, by the awakened vigilance of a se- 
vere despotism, to guard against the very first ai> 
preaches of freedom. Against such as these they 
never elevate their voice. Deserters from principle, 
listed witli fortune, they never see any good in sulTer- 
ing virtue, nor any crime in prosperous usurpation. 

If it could liave been made clear to me tliat the 
king and (juccn of Franco (those, I mean, who were 
such boibro the triumph) were inexorable and cruel 
tyrants, that they had formed a deliberate scheme for 
massacring the National Assembly, (I tliink I have 



seen something like the latter insinuated in certain 
publications,) I should think their captivity just. If 
this be true, much more ought to have been done, 
but done, in my opinion, in another manner. The 
punishment of real tyrants is a noble and awful act 
of justice ; and it iias with truth been said to be con- 
solatory to the human mind. But if I were to pun- 
ish a wicked king, I should regard the dignity in 
avenging the crime. Justice is grave and decorous, 
and in its punishments rather seems to submit to 
a necessity than to make a choice. Had Nero, or 
Agrippina, or Louis the Eleventh, or Charles the 
Ninth been the subject, — if Charles the Twelfth of 
Sweden, after the murder of Patkul, or his predeces- 
sor, Christina, after the murder of Monaldeschi, had 
fallen your liands. Sir, or into mine, I am sure 
our conduct would have been different. 

If the French king, or king of the French, (or by 
whatever name he is known in the new vocabulary 
of your Constitution,) has in his own person and 
tliat of his queen really deserved these unavowed, 
but unavenged, murderous attcmj^ts, and those fre- 
quent indignities more cruel than murder, such a 
person would ill deserve even that subordinate ex- 
ecutory trust which I understand is to be placed in 
him ; nor is he fit to be called cliief in a nation which 
he has outraged and op[)ressed. A worse choice for 
such an office in a new commonwealth than that of a 
deposed tyrant could not possibly be made. But to 
degrade and insult a man as the worst of criminals, 
and afterwards to trust him in your highest concerns, 
as a faithful, honest, and zealous servant, is not con- 
sistent in reasoning, nor prudent in policy, nor safe 
in practice. Those who could make such an appoint- 








ment must be guilty of a more flagrant breach of 
trust than any they have yet committed against the 
})eopie. As this is the only crime in which your 
leading politicians could have acted inconsistently, I 
conclude that there is no sort of ground for these 
horrid insinuations. I think no better of all the 
other calumnies. 

In England, we give no credit to them. We are 
generous enemies ; we are faithful allies. We spurn 
from us with disgust and indignation the slanders 
of those who bring us their anecdotes with the attes- 
tation of tlie flower-de-luce on their shoulder. We 
have Lord George Gordon fast in Newgate ; and nei- 
ther his being a public proselyte to Judaism, nor his 
having, in his zeal against Catholic priests and all 
sorts of ecclesiastics, raised a mob (excuse the term, 
it is still in use here) wliich pulled down all our pris- 
ons, have preserved to him a liberty of which he did 
not render himself wortliy by a virtuous use of it. 
We have rebuilt Newgate, and tenanted the mansion. 
We have prisons almost as strong as tlie Bastilo, for 
those who dare to libel the queens of Franco. In this 
spiritual retreat let the noble libeller remain. Let 
liim there meditate on his Talmud, until he learns a 
conduct more becoming his birth and parts, and not so 
disgraceful to the ancient religion to which lie has be- 
come a proselyte, — or until boine persons from your 
side 01 iho water, to please your new Hebrew breth- 
ren, shall ransom him. He may then be enabled 
to purchase, witli the old hoards of tlie synagogue, 
and a very small pourdagc on the long coiupound 
interest of the tliirty pieces of silver, ( Dr. Price has 
shown us wluit miracles compound intuiest will per- 
fonu in 17 90 years,) tlie lands which are lately dis- 





covered to hare been usurped by the Gallican Clnuch. 
Send us your Popish Archbishop of Paris, and wc will 
send you our Protestant Rabbin. We shall treat the 
person you send us in exchange like a gentleman and 
an honest man, as he is: but pray let him bring with 
him the fund of his hospitality, bounty, and cliarity ; 
and, depend upon it, we sliall never confiscate a shil- 
ling of that honorable and pious fund, nor thii-k of 
enriching the Treasury with the spoils of the poor- 

To tell you the truth, my dear Sir, I think the 
honor of our nation to be somewhat concerned in 
the disclaimer of the proceedings of tliis society of 
the Old Jewry and the London Tavern. I have no 
man's proxy. I speak only from myself, wluin 1 dis- 
claim, as I do with all possible earnestness, all com- 
munion with the actors in tliat triumph, or with the 
admirers of it. When I assert anything else, as con- 
cerning the people of England, I speak from obser- 
vation, not from authority; but I speak from the 
experience I have had in a pretty extensive and 
mixed communication with the inhabitants of tliis 
kingdom, of all descriptions and ranks, and after a 
course of attentive observation, begun in early life, 
and continued for near ibrty years. I liave often 
been astonished, considering that we are divided 
from you but by a slender dike of about twenty- 
four miles, and that the mutual intercourse between 
the two countries has lately been very great, to find 
how little you seem to know of us. I suspect tliat 
this is owing to your forming a judgment of ibis na- 
tion from certain publications, which do, very errone- 
ously, if they do at all, represent the opinions and 
dispositions generally prevalent in England. The 









vanity, restlessness, petulance, and >pirit of intrig\io 
of several petty cabals, wlio attempt to liide their to- 
tal want of consequence in bustle and noise, and puf. 
fing and mutual quotation of each other, makes you 
imagine that our contemptuous neglect of their abil- 
ities is a general mark of acquiescence in their opin- 
ions. No such thing, I assure you. Because half 
a dozen grasshoppers under a fern make the field 
ring with their importunate chink, whilst thousands 
of great cattle reposed beneath the shadow of the 
British oak chew the cud and are silent, pray do not 
imagine that those who make the noise are the only 
inhabitants of the field, — that, of course, they are 
many in number, — or that, after all, they are other 
than the little, shrivelled, moagro, hopping, though 
loud and troublesome insects of tlie hour. 

I almost venture to affirm that not one in a hun- 
dred amongst us participates in the "triumph" of 
tlio Revolution Society. If the king and queen of 
France and their children were to fall into our hands 
by the chance of war, in the most acrimonious of all 
hostilities, ( I deprecate such an event, I deprecate such 
hostility,) they would be treated with anotlier sort of 
triumphal entry into London. We formerly liave had 
a king of France in that sitiiation : you have read 
how he vas treated by the victor in the field, and in 
what manner ho was afterw^irds received in England. 
Four Imndred years have gone over us ; but I believe 
we are not materially changed since that penoa. 
Thanks to our sullen resistance to innovation, .iinn's 
to the cold sluggishness of our national character, we 
still bear tlie stamp of our forefathers. We have not 
(as I conceive) lost the generosity and dignity of 
thinking of the fourteenth century ; nor as yet have 



we subtilized ourselves into Ravages. We are not the 
converts of Rousseau; wo are not the disciples of 
Voltaire; Helvetius has made no progress amongst 
us. Atheists are not om preachers; madmen are 
not our lawgivers. We know that ve have made 
no discoveries, and wo think that no discoveries aro 
to bo made, in morality, — nor many in the great 
l»nnciples of government, nor in the ideas of liberty, 
which were understood long before wo were bom 
altogether as well as they will be after tlio grave has 
heafwd its mould upon our prcsuniption, and the si- 
lent tomb shall have imposed its law on our pert 
loquacity. In England we have not yet been com- 
pletely enibowelled of our natural entrails : wo still 
feel within us, and we cherish and cultivate, those 
inbred sentiments which are the faithful guardians, 
the active monitors of our duty, the true supporters 
of all liberal and manly morals. We have not been 
drawn and trussed, in order that wo may bo filled, 
like stutTcd birds in a museum, with chatV and rags, 
and paltry, blurred shreds of paper about the rights 
of man. Wo preserve the whole of our feelings still 
native and entire, unsophisticated by pedantry and 
intldelity. We have real hearts of flesh and l)lood 
beating in our bosoms. Wo fear God; we look up 
with awe to kings, with atToction to Parliaments, 
with duty to magistrates, witii reverence to priests, 
and withrespect to nobility.* Wliy ? Because, when 

• The English arc, I conceive, misrcpicscntcd in a letter published 
in one of the papers, hy u scntloman thou;,'ht to be a Dissenting min- 
ister. When writing to Dr. I'rice of the spirit which prevails at 

Paris ho i-avs, " The spirit of the jieople in this place li^is abolished 

all the proud distinctions which th.- king and nobles had usurped in tiicir 
minds : whether they talk of t/ie kimj, the noble, ur the priest, their whole 




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such ideas are brought before our minds, it is natural 
to be so affected ; because all other feelings are false 
and spurious, and tend to corrupt our minds, to vi- 
tiate our primary morals, to render us unfit for ra- 
tional liberty, and, by teaching us a servile, licentious, 
and abandoned insolence, to be our low sport for a 
few holidays, to make us perfectly fit for and justly 
deserving of slavery through the whole course of 
our lives. 

You see, Sir, that in this enlightened age I am 
bold enough to confess that we are generally men of 
untaught feelings : that, instead of casting away all 
our old prejudices, wo cherish them to a very consid- 
erable degree ; and, to take more shame to ourselves, 
we cherish them because they are prejudices ; and 
the longer they have lasted, and the more generally 
they have prevailed, the more we cherish them. We 
are afraid to put men to live and trade each on his 
own private stock of reason ; because we suspect that 
the stock in each man is small, and that the individ- 
uals would do better to avail themselves of the gen- 
eral bank and capital of nations and of ages. Many 
of our men of speculation, instead of exploding gen- 
eral prejudices, employ their sagacity to discover the 
latent wisdom which prevails in them. If tliey find 
what they seek, (and they seldom fail,) they think it 
more wise to continue the prejudice, witli tiie reason 
involved, than to cast away the coat of prejudice, 
and to leave notliiiig but tlie naked reason ; because 
prejudice, with its reason, has a motive to give action 
to that reason, and an aifection which will give it per- 

language is tlisit of the most enlightened and liberal amongst the English." 
If this geinleiiiiin means to confine thu terms enlightened and liUrat to 
one set of men in England, it may be true. It is not generally so. 




manence. Prejudice is of ready application in the 
emergency; it previously engages the mind in a 
steady course of wisdom and virtue, and docs not 
leave the man hesitating in tlie moment of decision, 
skeptical, puzzled, and Prejudice ren- 
ders a man's virtue his habit, .aid not a series of 
unconnected acts. Through just prejudice, his duty 
becomes a part of his nature. 

Your literary men, and your politicians, and so do 
the whole clan of the enlightened among us, essen- 
tially differ in these points. Tliey have no respect 
for tlie wisdom of others ; but they pay it off by a 
very full measure of confidence in their own. With 
them it is a sufficient motive to destroy an old scheme 
of things, because it is an old one. As to the new, 
they are in no sort of fear with regard to the dura- 
tion of a building run up in hat te ; because duration 
is no object to those who think little or nothing has 
been done before their time, and who place all their 
hojics in dit^covory. They conceive, very systemati- 
cally, that all things which give perpetuity are mis- 
chievous, and therefore thoy are at inexpiable war 
with all establishments. Tliey think that govern- 
ment may vary like modes of dress, and with as little 
ill effect ; that there needs no principle of attachment, 
except a sense of present convenieiicy, to any con- 
stitution of the state. They always speak as if they 
were of opinion that there is a singular species of 
compact between them and their magistrates, which 
binds the magistrate, but which has nothing recipro- 
cal in it, but that the majesty of the people has a 
right to dissolve it without any reason but its will. 
Their attachment to their country itself is only so far 
as it agrees with some of their fleeting projects : it 




,' ii^ 


'I I 




begins and ends with that scheme of polity which falls 
in with their momentary opinion. 

These doctrines, or rather sentiments, seem preva- 
lent with your new statesmen. But they are wlioUy 
different from tliose on which we have always acted 
in this country. 

I hear it is sometimes given out in France, that 
what is doing among you is after the example of 
England. I beg leave to affirm that scarcely any- 
thing done with you has originated from the practice 
or the prevalent opinions of this people, either in the 
act or in the spirit of the proceeding. Let me add, 
that wo are as unwilling to learn these lessons from 
France as we are sure that we never taught them to 
that nation. The cabals here who take a sort of 
sliare in your transactions as yet consist of but a 
handful of people. If, unfortunately, by their in- 
trigues, their sermons, tlieir publications, and by a 
confidence derived from an expected union with the 
counsels and forces of the French nation, they should 
draw considerable numbers into their faction, and in 
consequence should seriously attempt anything here 
in imitation of what has been done with you, the 
event, I dare venture to prophesy, will be, that, with 
some trouble to their country, they will soon accom- 
plish their own destruction. Tins people refused to 
change their law in remote ages from respect to the 
infallibility of Popes, and they will not now alter it 
from a pious implicit faith in the dogmatism of phi- 
losophers, — though the former was armed with the 
anathema and crusade, and tliougli the latter should 
act with the libel and the lamp-iron. 

Formerly your affairs were your own concc i only. 
We felt for them as men ; but we kept aloof from 





them, because we were not citizens of France. But 
when we see the model held up to ourselves, we must 
feel as Englishmen, and, feeling, we must provide as 
Englishmen. Your affairs, in spite of us, are made 
a part of our interest, — so far at least as to keep at 
a distance your panacea or your plague. If it l)0 
a panacea, wo do not want it : we know the conse- 
quences of unnecessary physic. If it be a ytlague, it 
is such a plague that the precautions of the most se- 
vere quarantine ought to be established against it. 

I hear on all hands, that a cabal, calling itself phil- 
osophic, receives the glory of many of tho late pro- 
ceedings, and that their opinions and systems are 
tho true actuating spirit of the whole of them. I 
have lieard of no party in England, literary or politi- 
cal, at any time, known by such a description. It is 
not with you composed of those men, is it? whom 
the viilgar, in their blunt, homely style, commonly 
call Atheists and Infidels ? If it be, I admit that we, 
too, have had writers of that description, who made 
some noise in their day. At present they repose in 
lasting oblivion. Who, born within the last forty 
years, has read one word of Collins, and Toland, and 
Tindal, and Chubb, and Morgan, and that whole 
race who called themselves Freethinkers ? Who now 
reads Bolingbroke ? Who ever read him through ? 
Ask the booksellers of London what is become of all 
these lights of the world. In as few years their few 
successors will go to the family vault of " all tho 
Capulets." But whatever they v,.3re, or are, with us 
they were and are Avholly unconnected individuals. 
With us they kept the common nature of thei • ^:ind, 
and were not gregarious. Tliey never acted in corps, 
nor were known as a faction in the state, nor pre- 



I '' i 



> v^ 






w . 

Eumed to influence in that name or character, or for 
the purposes of such a faction, on any of our pubhc 
concerns. Whether they ought so to exist, and so 
be permitted to act, is another question. As such 
cabals hare not existed in England, so neither has 
the spirit of them had any influence in establishing 
the original frame of our Constitution, or in any one 
of the several reparations and improvements it has 
undergone. The whole has been done under the 
auspices, and is confirmed by the sanctions, of relig- 
ion and piety. The whole has emanated from the 
simplicity of our national cliaracter, and from a sort 
of native plainness and directness of understanding, 
which for a long time characterized Miose men who 
have successively obtained authority among us. This 
disposition still remains, — at least in the great body 
of the people. 

We know, and, what is better, we feel inwardly, 
that roligion is the basis of civil society, and the 
source of all good, and of all comfort.* In England 
we are so convinced of this, that there is no rust 
of superstition, with which the accumulated absurdity 
of the human mind might have crusted it over in the 
course of ages, that ninety-nine in a hundred of the 
peof.le of England would not prefer to impijty. We 
shall never be such fools as to call in an enemy to 
the substance of any system to remove its corrup- 
tions, to supply its defects, or to perfect its construc- 

* Sit igitar hoc ab initio persuasum civibus, dominos esse omnium 
rcrnm ac modcratores decs ; eaque, qua: gerantur, corum geri vi, 
ditione, ac numine j eosdemque optime do gcnere hominum mercri ; 
et qualis qnisque sit, quid agat, quid in se admittat, qua mcnte, qua 
pietatc colat religiones intueri : piorum et impiorum habere rationem. 
His enim rebus imbutn mcntes baud eane a'uhorrcbunt ab utili ct n 
vera scntcntia. — Cic. de Legibus, I. 2. 


I • 



tion. If our religious tenets should ever want a 
further elucidation, we shall not call on Athcifiin to 
explain them. We shall not light up otir temple 
from that unhallowed fire. It will bo illuminated 
with other lights. It will be perfumed witii other 
incense than the infectious stuff which is imported 
by the smugglers of adulterated metaphysics. If our 
ecclesiastical establishment should want a revision, it 
is not avarice or rapacity, public or pri 'ate, tliat we 
shall employ for the audit or receipt or application 
of its consecrated revenue Violently condemning 
neither the Greek nor the Armenian, nor, since heats 
are subsided, the Roman system of religion, we pre- 
fer the Protestant : not because we think it has less 
of the Christian religion in it, but because, in our 
judgment, it has more. We are Protestants, not 
from indifference, btit from zeal. 

We know, and it is our pride to know, that man 
is by his constitution a religious animal ; that 
ism is against, not only our reason, but our instincts ; 
and that it cannot prevail long. But if, in the mo- 
ment of riot, and in a drunken delirium from the hot 
spirit drawn out of the alembic of hell, which in 
France is now so furiously boiling, we should uncover 
our nakedness, by throwing off that Christian religion 
which has hitherto boon our boast and comfort, and 
one great source of civil!,- Uion amongst us, and 
among many other nations, we are apprehensive 
(being well aware that the mind will not endure a 
void) that some uncouth, pernicious, and degrading 
superstition might take place of it. 

For that reason, before we take from our establish- 
ment t'ae natural, human means of estimation, and 
give it up to contempt, as you have done, and in 


1' I 

! ' nil 




, i 




doing it have incurred the penalties you well deserve 
to sutFor, wc desire that some other may be presented 
to us in the place of it. Wo shall then form our 

On these ideas, instead of quarrelling with estab- 
lishments, as some do, who have made a philosophy 
and a -eligion of their hostility to such institutions, 
we cleave closely to them. We are resolved to keep 
an established church, an established monarchy, an 
established aristociv^y, and an established democra- 
cy, each in the degree it exists, and in no greater. I 
shall show you presently how much of each of these 
wc possess. 

It has been the misfortune (not, as these gentlemen 
think it, the glory) of this age, that everything is to 
bo discussed, as if the Constitution of our countr}' 
wore to bo always a subject rather of altercation 
than enjoyment. For this reason, as well as for the 
satisfaction of those among you (if any such you 
have among you) who may wish to profit of exam- 
ples, I venture to trouble you with a few thoughts 
upon each of these establishments. I do not think 
they were unwise in ancient Rome, who, when they 
wished to new-model their laws, sent commissioners 
to examine the best-constituted republics withui their 

First I beg leave to speak of our Church Estab- 
lishment, whicli is the first of our prejudices, — not a 
prejudice destitute of reason, but involving in it pro- 
found and extensive wisdom. I speak of it first. It 
is first, and last, and midst in our minds. For, tak- 
ing ground oil that religious system of whicli we are 
now in possession, we continue to act on the ^arly 












received and uniformly continued sense of mankind. 
Tliat sense not only, like a wise architect, hath built 
up the august fabric of states, but, like a provident 
proprietor, to p.eservo the structure from profanation 
and ruin, as a sacred temple, purged from all the 
impurities of fraud and violence and injustice and 
tyranny, hath solemnly and forever consecrated the 
commonwealth, and all that officiate in 't. This con- 
secraiiou is mide, that all who administer in the gov- 
ernment of men, in which tliey stand in the person 
0. • -self, should have high and worthy notions 

'^ .notion and destination ; that their hope 

g .. "all of immortality; that they should not 

lov .110 pa' y pelf of the moment, nor to the tem- 

porary and ti^nsiont praise of the vulgar, but to a 
solid, permanent existence, in the permanent part of 
their nature, and to a permanent feme and glory, in 
the example they leave as a rich inheritance to the 

Such sublime principles ought to be infused into 
persons of exalted situations, and religious establish- 
ments provided that may continually revive and en- 
force them. Every sort of moral, every sort of civil, 
every sort of politic institution, aiding the rational 
and natural ties that connect the human understand- 
ing and alTections to the divine, are not more than 
necessary, in order to build up that wonderful struc- 
ture, Man, — whose prerogative it is, to be in a great 
degree a creature of his own making, and who, 
when made as he ought to be made, is destined to 
hold no trivial place in the creation. But whenever 
man is put over men, as the better nature ought ever 
to preside, in that case more particularly ho should aa 
nearly as possil .o be approximated to his perfcction. 

VOL. III. 23 







^ n 


i 1 



The consecration of the state by a state religious 
establishment is necessary also f ■ operate with a 
wholesome awe upon free citizens ; because, in on lor 
to secure their freedom, they must enjoy some de- 
terminate portion of power. To them, therefor., a 
religion connected with the state, and with their 
duty towards it, becomes even more necessary than 
in such societies where the people, by the terms of 
their subjection, are confined to private sentiments, 
and the management of their own family concerns. 
All persons possessing any portion of power ought 
to be strongly and awfully impressed with an idea 
that they act in trust, and that they are to account 
for their conduct in that trust to the one great Mas- 
ter, Author, and Founder of society. 

This principle ought even to be more strongly im- 
pressed upon the minds of those who compose the col- 
lective sovereignty than upon those of single princes. 
"Without instruments, these princes can do nothing. 
Whoever uses instruments, in finding helps, finds 
also impediments. Their power is therefore by no 
means complete ; nor are they safe in extreme abuse. 
Such persons, however elevated by flattery, arrogance, 
and self-opinion, must be sensible, that, whether cov- 
ered or not by positive law, in some way or other they 
are accountable even here for the abuse of their trust. 
If they are not cut off by a rebellion of their people, 
they may be strangled by the very janissaries kept 
for their security against all other rebellion. Thus 
we have seen the king of France sold by his soldiers 
for an increase of pay. But where popular authority 
is absolute and unrestrained, the people have an in- 
finitely greater, because a far better founded, confi- 
dence in their owi' power. They are themselves in 



a great measure their own instruments. They are 
nearer to their objects. Besides, they are less under 
responsibility to one of the greatest controlling pow- 
ers on earth, the sense of fame and estimation. The 
share of infamy that is likely to fall to the lot of each 
individual in public acts is small indeed : the opera- 
tion of opinion being in the inverse ratio to the num- 
ber of those who ab-se power. Their own approbation 
of their own acts has to them the appearance of a 
public ■ ''^pnei'.t in their favor. A perfect democra- 
cy is tn; 'ore the most shameless thing in the world. 
As it is the .nost shameless, it is also the most fear- 
less. No man apprehends in his person that he can 
be made subject to punishment. Certainly the peo- 
ple at large never ought : for, as all punishments are 
for example towards the conservation of the people 
at large, the people at large can never become the 
subject of punishment by any human hand.* It is 
therefore of infinite importance that they should not 
be suffered to imagine that their will, any more than 
that of kings, is the tandard of right and wrong. 
They ought to be persuaded that thoy are ftiU as lit- 
tle entitled, and far less qualil jd, with safety to them- 
selves, to use any arbitrary power whatsoever ; that 
therefore they are not, under a false show of liberty, 
but in trutli to exercise an unnatural, inverted don.- 
ination, tyraanically to exact from those who offi- 
ciate in the atate, not an entire devotion to their in- 
terest, which is their right, but an abject submission 
to their occasional will : extinguishing thereby, in all 
those who servo thom, all moral principle, all sense 
of dignity, all use of judgment, and all consistency 
of character ; whilst by the very same process they 

• Qaicqoid mnltis peccatur innltam. 

I. 1 « 










give themselves up a proper, a suitable, but a most 
> ntemptible prey to tlie servile ambition of popular 
sycophants or courtly flatterers. 

When the people have emptied themselves of all 
the lust of selfish will, which without religion it is 
utterly impossible they over should, — when they are 
conscious that tliey exercise, and exercise perhaps 
in a higher link of the order of delegation, the pow 
er which to bo legitimate must be according to that 
eternal, immutable law in which will and reason are 
the same, — they will be more careful how they place 
power in ba«o and incapable hands. In their nomi- 
nation to office, they will not appoint to the exercise 
of outhority as to a pitifUl job, but as to a holy func- 
tion ; not according to their sordid, selfish interest, 
nor to their wanton caprice, nor to their arbitrary 
will; but they will cf^nfer that power (wliich any 
man may well treir.>^' , i give or to receive) on those 
only in whom tuoy may discern that predominant pro- 
portion of active virtue and wisdom, taken together 
and fitted to the charge, such as in the great and 
inevitable mixed mass of human imperfections and 
infirmities is to be found. 

When they are habitually convinced that no evil 
can be acceptable, either in the act or the permission, 
to Him whose essence is good, they will be better able 
to extirpate out of the minds of all magistrates, civil, 
ecclesiastical, or military, anything tliat boars the 
least resemblance to a proud and lawless domina- 

But one of the first and most leading principles on 
which the commonwealth and the laws are consecrat- 
ed is lest the temporary possessors and life-renters in 
it, unmindful of what they have received from their au- 

ri! ' 





cestors, or of what is due :o thoir posterity, should act 
as if they wore the entire masters ; that tliey should 
not thiiiic it; amougst their rights to cut oft' tlie entail 
or commit waste ou the iuheritunce, by destroying at 
their pleasure the whole original fabric of their socie- 
ty : hazarding to leave to tlioso who come after them 
a ruin instead of an liabitation, — and tcaciiing these 
successors as little to respect their contrivances as 
they had tlicmsulves respected the institutions of tlieir 
forefathers. By this unprincipled faci'" ^^ of chang- 
ing the state as often and as much and u. as many 
ways as there are floating fancies or fashioc.i, the 
whole cliain and continuity of the com.Moi'wia'.h 
would be broken; no one generation could lit)'- with 
die other; men would become litt: t-itter thuii the 
flies of a summer. 

And first of all, the science of jurisprudence, the 
pride of the human intellect, which, with all its de- 
fects, redundancies, and errors, is the collected rea- 
son of ages, combining the principles of original jus- 
tice with the infinite variety of human concerns, as 
a heap of old exploded errors, would bo no longer 
studied. Personal self-sufficiency and arrogance (the 
certain attendants upon all those who have never ex- 
perienced a wisdom greater than their own' would 
usurp the tribunal. Of course no certain laws, estab- 
lishing invariable grr -. of hope and fear, would 
keep the actions of men ui a certain course, or direct 
them to a certain end. Nothing stable in the modes 
of holding property or exercising ftinction could form 
a solid ground on which any parent could speculate 
in the education of his oflfepring, or in a choice for 
their future establishment in the world. No prin- 
ciples would be early worked into the habit" As 

i. ''i 




■ y 




80on as the most able instructor had completed his 
laborious course of institution, instead of sending 
fortli his pupil accomplished in a virtuous discipline 
fitted to procure him attention and respect in his 
place in society, he would find everything altered, 
and that he had turned out a poor creature to the 
contempt and derision of the world, ignorant of the 
true grounds of estimation. Who would insure a 
tender and delicate sense of honor to beat almost 
with the first pulses of the heart, when no man could 
know what would be the test of honor in a nation 
continually varying the standard of its coin? No 
part of life would retain its acquisitions. Barba- 
rism with regard to science and literature, unskilful- 
ness with regard to arts and manufactures, would in- 
fallibly succeed to the want of a steady education 
and settled principle ; and thus the commonwealth 
itself would in a few generations crumble away, be 
disconnected into the dust and powder of individ- 
uality, and at length dispersed to all the winds of 

To avoid, therefore, the evils of inconstancy and 
versatility, ten thousand times worse than those of 
obstinacy and the blindest prejudice, we have conse- 
crated the state, that no man should approach to look 
into its defects or corruptions but with due caution ; 
that he should never dream of beginning its reformar 
tion by its subversion; that he should approach to 
tlie faults of the state as to the wounds of a father, 
with pious awe and trembling solicitude. By this 
wise prejudice we are taught to look with horror on 
those children of their country who are prompt rashly 
to hack that aged parent in pieces and put him into 
the kettle of magicians, in hopes that by tlieir poi- 

• -^' \ *• 



sonous weeds and wild incantations they may regen- 
erate the paternal constitution and renovate their fa- 
ther's life. 

Society is, indeed, a contract. Subordinate con- 
tracts for objects of mere occasional interest may be 
dissolved at pleasure ; but the state ought not to be 
considered as nothing better than a partnership agree- 
ment in a trade of pepper and coffee, calico or tobac- 
co, or some other such low concern, to bo taken up 
for a little temporary interest, and to be dissolved by 
the fancy of the parties. It is to be looked on with 
other reverence ; because it is not a partnership in 
things subservient only to the gross animal existence 
of a temporary and perishable nature. It is a part- 
nership in all science, a partnership in all art, a part- 
nership in every virtue and in all perfection. As the 
ends of such a partnership cannot be obtainec* in 
many generations, it becomes a partnership not only 
between those who are living, but between those who 
are living, hose who are dead, and those who are to 
be born. Each contract of each particular state is 
but a clause in the great primeval contract of eternal 
society, linking the lower with the higher natures, 
connecting the visible and invisible world, according 
to a fixed compact sanctioned by the inviolable oath 
which holds all physical and all moral natures each 
in their appointed place. This law is not suVyect to 
the will of those who, by an obligation above them, 
and infinitely superior, are bound to submit their will 
to that law. The municipal corporations of that uni- 
versal kingdom are not morally at liberty, at their 
pleasure, and on their speculations of a contingent 
improvement, wholly to separate and tear asunder 
the bands of their subordinate community, and to 











dissolve it into an unsocial, uncivil, unconnected 
chaos of elementary principles. It is the first and 
supreme necessity only, a necessity that is not chos- 
en, but chooses, a necessity paramount to delibera- 
tion, that admits no discussion and demands no evi- 
dence, which alone can justify a resort to anarchy. 
This necessity is no exception to the rule ; because 
this necessity itself is a part, too, of that moral and 
physical disposition of things to which man must be 
obedient by consent or force: but if that which is 
CT.lj submission to necessity should be made the ob- 
ject of choice, the law is broken, Nature is disobey- 
ed, and the rebellious are outlawed, cast forth, and 
exiled, from this world of reason, and order, and 
peace, and virtue, and fruitful penitence, into the 
antagonist world of madness, discord, vice, confusion, 
and unavailing sorrow. 

These, my dear Sir, are, were, and, I think, lont. 
will be, the sentiments of not the least learned and 
reflecting part of this kingdom. They who are in- 
cluded in this description form their opinions on such 
grounds as such persons ouglit to form them. The 
less inquiring receive them from an authority which 
those whom Providence dooms to live on trust need 
not be ashamed to rely on. These two sorts of men 
move in the same direction, though in a ditferont 
place. They both move with the order of the uni- 
verse. They all know or feel this great ancient 
truth : — " Quod illi principi et prcepotenti Deo qui 
omnem kunc mundum regit nihil eorum quce quidem 
fiant in terris acceptius quarr. concilia et costus hominum 
jure sociati quce civitates appellantur." They take this 
tenet of the head and heart, not from the great name 
which it immediately bears, nor from the greater from 




whence it is derived, but from that which alone can 
giTO true weight and sanction to any learned opinion, 
the common nature and common relation of men. 
Persuaded that all things ought to be done with ref- 
erence, and referring all to the point of reference to 
which all should be directed, they think themselves 
bound, not only as individuals in tlie sanctuary of 
the heart, or as congregated in that personal capaci- 
ty, to renew the memory of their high origin and 
cast, but also in their corporate character to perform 
their national homage to the Institutor and Author 
and Protector of civil society, without whicli civil 
society man could not by any possibility arrive at the 
perfection of which his nature is capable, nor even 
make a remote and faint approach to it. They con- 
ceive that He who gave our nature to be perfected by 
our virtue willed also the necessary means of its per- 
fection: He willed, therefore, the state: He willed 
its connection with the source and original archetype 
of all perfection. They who are convinced of this His 
will, which is the law of laws and the sovereign of 
sovereigns, cannot think it reprehensible that this our 
corporate fealty and homage, that this our recognition 
of a signiory paramount, I had almost said this obla- 
tion of the state itself, as a worthy offering ou the high 
altar of universal praise, should be performed, as all 
public, solemn acts are performed, in buildings, in mu- 
sic, in decoration, m speech, in the dignity of persons, 
according to the customs of mankind, taught by their 
nature, -that is, with modest splendor, with unas- 
suming state, with mild majesty and sober pomp. 
For those purposes they think some part of the wealth 
of the country is as usefully employed as it can be 
in fomenting the luxury of individuals. It is Uie 




l<i VH; 


! r 






public ornament. It is the public consolation. It 
nourishes the public hope. The poorest man finds 
his own importance and dignity in it, whilst the 
wealth and pride of individuals at every moment 
makes the man of humble rank and fortune sensible 
of his inferiority, and degrades and vilifies his condi- 
tion. It is for the man in humble life, and to raise 
his nature, and to put him in mind of a state in which 
the privileges of opulence will cease, when he will be 
equal by nature, and may be more than eqii tl by vir- 
tue, that this portion of the general wealth of his 
country is employed and sanctified. 

I assure you I do not aim at singularity. I give 
you opinions which have been accepted amongst us, 
from very early times to this moment, with a con- 
tinued and general approbation, and which, indeed, 
are so worked into my mind that I am unable to 
distinguish what I have learned from others from 
the results of my own meditation. 

It is ou some such principles thai the majority of 
the people of England, far from thinking a religious 
national establishment unlawful, hardly think it law- 
ful to be witliout one. In France you are wholly 
mistaken, if you do not believe us above all other 
things attached to it, and beyond all other nations ; 
and when this people has acted unwisely and unjus- 
tifiably in its favor, (as in some instances they have 
done, most certainly,) in their very errors you will at 
least discover their zeal. 

This principle runs through the whole system of 
their polity. They do not consider their Church 
establishment as convenient, but as essential to their 
state : not as a thing heterogeneous and arable, — 
something added for accommodation, — what they 

-:^\ *■ 



may either keep up or lay aside, according >a their 
temporary ideas of convenience. They consider it 
as the foundation of their whole Constitution, with 
which, and with every part of which, it holds an 
uidissoluble union. Church and State are ideas in- 
separable in their minds, and scarcely is the one ever 
mentioned without mentioning the other. 

Our education is so fDrmed as to confirm and fix 
this impression. Our education is in a manner whol- 
ly in the h iuds of ecclesiastics, and in all stages from 
infancy to manhood. Evei. when our youth, leaving 
schools and universities, enter that itost important 
period of life which begins to link experience and 
study together, and when with that view they visit 
other countries, instead of old domestics whom we 
have seen as governors to principal men from other 
parts, three fourths of those who go abroad with our 
young nobility and gentlemen are ecclesiastics: not as 
austere masters, nor as mere fo lowers ; but as friends 
and companions of a graver character, and not sel- 
dom pevsons as well born as themselves. With tliem, 
as relations, they most commonly keep up a close con- 
nection through life. By this connection wo conceive 
that wo attach our gentlemen to the Church ; and we 
liberalize the Clmrch by an intercourse with the lead- 
ing characters of the country. 

So tenacious are we of the old ecclesiastical modes 
and fashions of iiistitution, that very little alteratio.' 
has been made in them since the fourteent'i or h.- 
teenth century : adhering in this particular, as in all 
things else, to our old settled maxim, never entirely 
nor at once to depart from antiquity. We found 
these old institutions, on the whole, fiivoraltle to mo- 
rality and r'iscipline ; and we thought they were sua- 









ceptible of amendment, •without altering iha ground 
We thought that they were capable of receiving and 
meliorating, and above all of preserving, the acces- 
sions of science and literature, as the order of Provi- 
dence should successively produce them. And after 
all, with this Gothic and monkish education, (for such 
it is in the groundwork,) we may put in our claim to 
as ample and as early a share in all the improvements 
in science, in arts, and in literature, which have il- 
luminated and adorned the modern world, as any 
other nation in Europe: we think one main cause 
of this improvement was our not despising the patri- 
mony of knowledge which was left us by our fore- 

It is from our attachment to a Church establish- 
ment, that tl e English nation did not think it wise to 
uitrust that great fundamental interest of the whole to 
what they trust no part of their civil or military pub- 
lic service, — that is, to the unsteady and precarious 
contribution of individuals. They go further. They 
certainly never have suffered, and never will suffer, 
the fixed estate of the Church to be converted into 
a pension, to depend on the Treasury, and to be de- 
layed, withheld, or perhaps to be extinguislied by 
fiscal difficulties: which difficulties may sometimes 
be pretended for political purposes, and are in fi?,ct 
often brought on by the extravagance, negligence, 
and rapacity of politicians. The people of England 
think that they have constitutional motives, as well 
as religious, against any project of turning their 
independent clergy into ecclesiastical pensioners of 
state. Tliey tremble for their liberty, from the influ- 
ence of a clergy dependent on the crown ; they trem- 
ble for the public tranquillity, from tlie disorders of a 





factious clergy, if it wero made to depend upon any 
other than the crown. They therefore made their 
Church, like their king and their nobility, indepen- 

From the united considerations of religion and 
constitutional policy, from their opinion of a duty to 
make a sure provision for the onsolation of the fee- 
ble and the instruction of the ignorant, they havd 
incorporated and identified the estate of the Church 
with the mass of privaU property, of which the state 
is not the proprietor, either for uso or dominion, but 
the guardian only and the regulator. They have or- 
dained that the provision of this establishment might 
be as stable as the earth on which it stands, and 
should not fluctuate with the Euripus of funds and 


The men of England, the men, I mean, of light 
and leading in England, whose wisdom (if they have 
any) is open and direct, would be ashamed, as of a 
silly, deceitful trick, to profess any religion in name, 
which by their proceedings they appear to contemn. 
If by their conduct (the only language that rarely 
lies) they seemed to regard the great ruling principle 
of the moral and the natural world as a mere inven- 
tion to keep the vulgar in obedience, they apprehend 
that by such a conduct they would defeat the politic 
purpose they have in view. They would find it dif- 
ficult to make others believe in a system to which 
they manifestly gave no credit themselves. The Chris- 
tian ' tatesmen of this land would, indeed, first provide 
for the multitude, because it is the multitude, and is 
therefore, as such, the first object in the ecclesiastical 
institution, and in all institutions. They have been 
taught that the circumstance of the Gospel's being 


I ■ 





r l\ 

ii "- 

1\ :- 

preached to ti"^ poor was one of tho great tests of 
its true mission. Tliey think, therefore, that those 
do not believe it who do not take care it should be 
preached to the poor. But as they know that char- 
ity is not confined to any one description, but ought 
to apply itself to all men who have wants, they are 
not deprived of a due and anxious sensation of pity 
to the distresses of the miserable great. They are 
not repelled, through a fastidious delicacy, at the 
stench of their arrogance and presumption, from a 
medicinal attention to their mental blotches and 
running sores. They are sensible that religious in- 
struction is of more consequence to them than to any 
others : from the greatness of the temptation to which 
they are exposed ; from the important consequences 
that attend their faults ; from the contagion of their 
ill example ; from the necessity of bowing down the 
stubborn neck of their pride and ambition to the 
yoke of moderation and virtue ; from a consideration 
of the fat stupidity and gross ignorance concerning 
what imports men most to know, which prevails at 
courts, and at the head of armies, and in senates, as 
much as at the loom and in the field. 

The English people are satisfied, that to tho great 
the consolations of religion are as necessary '..s its 
instructions. They, too, are among the unhappy. 
They feel personal pain and domestic sorrow. In 
these tliey have no privilege, but are subject to pay 
their full contingent to the contributions levied on 
mortality. They want this sovereign balm under 
their gnawing cares and anxieties, which, being less 
conversant about the limited wants of animal life, 
range without limit, and are diversified by infinite 
combinations in the wild and unbounded regions of 



.. ! ,11 

■ H^B 


aM I 




imagination. Some charitable dole is wi'nting to 
these, our often very unhappy brethren, to fill the 
gloomy void that reigns in minds which have nothing 
on earth to hope or fear ; something to relieve in tlie 
killing languor and over-labored lassitude of those 
who have nothing to do; something to excite an 
appetite to existence in the palled satiety whicii at- 
tends on all pleasures which may be bought, where 
Nature is not left to her own process, wliere even 
desire is anticipated, and therefore fruition defeated 
by meditated schemes and contrivances of delight, 
anc" no interval, no obstacle, is interposed between 
the wish and iiie accomplishment. 

The people of England know bow little influence 
the teachers of religion are likely to have with the 
wealthy and powerful of long standing, and how 
much less with the newly fortunate, if they appear in 
a manner no way assorted to those with whom they 
must associate, and over whom they must even ex- 
ercise, in some cases, something like an authority. 
What must they think of tliat body of teachers, if 
they see it in no part above the establishment of 
their domestic servants? If the poverty were vol- 
untary, there might be some difference. Strong 
instances of self-denial operate powerfully on our 
minds ; and a man who has no wants has obtained 
great freedom and fi'-mness, and even dignity. But 
as the mass of any description of men are but men, 
and their poverty cannot be voluntary, that disre- 
spect which attends upon all lay poverty will not 
depart from the ecclesiastical. Our provident Con- 
stitution has therefore taken care that tliose who are 
to instruct presumptuous ignorance, those who are to 
be censors ever insolent vice, should neither incur 

! t 

1' » 


w , I 

1': : jl 1i 


their contempt nor live upon tlieir alms ; nor will it 
tempt the ricli to a neglect of the tnie medicine of 
their minds. For these reasons, whilst wo provide 
first for tiie poor, and with a parental solicitude, we 
have not relegated religion (like something we were 
ashamed to show) to obscure municipalities or rus- 
tic villages. No ! we will have her to exalt her mi- 
tred front in courts and parliaments. We will have 
her mixed tliroughout the whole mass of life, and 
blended witli all the classes of society. Tlie people 
of England will show to the haughty potentates of 
the world, and to their talking sopliisters, that a free, 
a generous, an informed nation honors the high mag- 
istrates of its Church ; that it will not suffer the in- 
solence of wealth and titles, or any other species 
of proud pretension, to look down with scorn upon 
what they look up to with reverence, nor presume 
to trample on that acquired personal nobility which 
they intend always to be, and which often is, the 
fruit, not the reward, (for what can be the reward ?) 
of learning, piety, and virtue. They can see, with- 
out pain or grudging, an archbishop precede a duke. 
They can see a bishop of Durham or a bishop of 
Winchester in possession of ten thousand pounds a 
year, and cannot conceive why it is in worse hands 
than estates to the like amount in the hands of this 
earl or that squire ; although it may be tnie that so 
many dogs and horses are not kept by the former, 
and fed with the victuals which ought to nourish the 
children of tlie people. It is true, the whole Church 
revenue is not always employed, and to every shil- 
ling, in charity; nor perhaps ought it; but some- 
thing is generally so employed. It is better to cher- 
ish virtue ar.d humanity, by leaving much to free 




will, oven with some loss to the ohject, than to at- 
tempt to inako men mere machuios and instrumonts 
of a politictil bcnovolonco. The world on the wliolo 
will gain l»y a liberty without which virtue cannot 

Wiien once the commonwealth has established the 
estates of the Church as property, it can con'-istently 
hear nothing of the more or the less. Too much and 
too little are treason against property. What evil 
can arise from the quantity in any liand, whilst the 
supreme authority has the full, sovereign superin- 
tendence over ♦his, as over any property, to prevent 
every species of abuse, — and whenever it notably 
deviates, to give to it a direction agreeable to tho 
purposes of its institution ? 

In El. Jand most of lis conceive that it is envy and 
malignity towards those who are often the b.'irinncrs 
of their own fortune, and not a love of the self-denial 
and mortification of the ancient Church, that makes 
some look askance at the distinctions and honors 
and revenues which, taken from no person, are set 
apart for virtue. The ears of the people of England 
arc distingiushing. They hear the?c men speak 
broad. Their tongue betrays them. Their language 
is in the patois of fraud, in the cant and gibberish of 
hypocrisy. The people of England mu«t tliink so, 
when these praters aO'oct to carry bac' orgy to 

that primitive evangelic poverty wbic > .iio spirit 
ought always to exii^t in them, (and in us, too, how- 
ever we may like it,) but in the tiling must bo varied, 
when the relation of that body to the state is altered, 
— when manners, wlien modes of life, when indeed the 
whole order of human affairs, has undergone a total 
revolution. We shall believe those reformers to be 

voi» III. 24 

r ft 





M I 


thou honeft cnthuBiasts, not, as now wc think them, 
clieats and deceivers, when we see them throwing 
their own goods into common, and submitting their 
owr persons to the austere discipline of the early 

With these ideas rooted in their minds, the Com- 
mons of Great Britain, in the national emergencies, 
will never seek their resource from the confiscation 
of the estates of the Clmrch and poor. Sacrilege and 
proscription are not among the ways and means of 
our Committee of Supply. The Jews in Change Alley 
have not yet dared to hint their hopes of a mortgage 
on the revenues belonging to the see of Canterbury. 
I am not afraid that I shall be disavowed, when I 
assure you that there is not one public man in this 
kingdom, whom you wish to quote, — no, not one, of 
any party or description, — who does not reprobate the 
dishonest, perfidious, and cruel confiscation which the 
National Assembly has been compelled to make of 
that property which it was their first duty to protect. 

It is with the exultation of a little national pride I 
tell you that those amongst us who have wished to 
pledge the societies of Paris in the cup of their abom- 
inations have been disappointed. The robbery of 
your Church has proved a security to the possessions 
of ours. It has roused the people. They see witli 
horror and alarm that enormous and shameless act 
of pruicription. It has opened, and will more and 
more open, their eyes upon the selfish enlargement 
of mind and the narrow liberality of sentiment of 
insidious men, which, commencing in close hypocrisy 
and fraud, have ended in open violence and rapine. 
At home we behold similar beginnings. We are on 
our guard against similar conclusions. 

I I 



I hope we shall never be so totally lost to all sense 
of tho duties imposed upon us by the law of social 
union, as, upon any pretext of public service, to con- 
fiscate the goods of a single unoffending citizen. 
Who but a tyrant (a name expressive of everything 
which can vitiate and degrade human nature) could 
think of seizing on the property of men, unaccused, 
unheard, untried, by whole descriptions, by hii.idreds 
and thousands together ? Who that had not lost ev- 
ery trace of humanity could think of casting down 
men of exalted rank and sacred function, some of 
them of an ago to call at once for reverence and coir 
passion, — of casting them down from tho high'ist sit- 
uation in the commoiuvealth, wherein they were 
maintained by their own landed property, to a state 
of indigence, depression, and contempt? 

The confiscators tnily have -rude some allowance 
to their victims from the scraps and fragments of 
their own tables, from which they have been so 
har&uly driven, and which have been so bountifully 
spread for a feast to the harpies of usury. But to 
drive men from independence to live on alms is itsilf 
great cruelty. That which might br a tolerable o./n- 
dition to men in one state of life, and not habituated 
to other things, may, when all these circumstances 
are altered, be a dreadful revolution, and one to 
which a virtuous mind would feel pain in condem- 
nine any guilt, except that which would demand the 
life of the offender. But to many minds this punish- 
ment of degradation and irjf«»»y is worse than death. 
Undoubtedly it is an infinite aggravation of this cruel 
suffering, that the persons who were taught a double 
prejudice in favor of religion, by education, and by 
the place the • held in the administration of its func- 





I ;^ J 




tions, are to receive the remnants of their property 
as alms from the profane and impious hands of those 
who had plundered them of all the res^t, — to receive 
(if they are at all to receive) not from the charitable 
contributions of the faithful, but from the insolent 
tenderness of known and avowed atheism, the main- 
tenance of religion, measured out to tliem on tlio 
standard of the contempt in which it is hold, and for 
the purpose of rendering those who receive the allow- 
ance vile and of no estimation in the eyes of man- 

But this act of seizure of property, it seems, is a 
judgment in law, and not a confiscation. They have, 
it seems, found out in the academies of the Palais 
Royal and the Jacobins, that certain men had no 
riglit to the possessions which they held under law, 
usage, the decisions of courts, and the accumulat- 
ed prescription of a thousand years. They say that 
ecclesiastics are fictitious persons, creatures of the 
state, whom at pleasure they may destroy, and of 
course limit and modify in every particular ; that the 
goods they possess are not properly theirs, but belong 
to the state which created the fiction ; and we are 
therefore not to trouble ourselves witli what they may 
Buffer in their natural feelings and natural persons 
ou account of what is done towards tliem in this their 
constructive character. Of what import is it, under 
what names you injure men, and deprive them of the 
just emoluments of a profession in which they were 
not only permitted, but encouraged by the state to 
engage, and upon the supposed certainty of which 
emoluniGuts they had formed the plan of their lives, 
contracted debts, and led multitudes to an entire de- 
pendence upon them ? 


jgji . X-..^ 




You do not imagine, Sir, that I am going to com 
pliment this miserable distinction of persons with any 
long discussion. The arguments of tyranny are as 
contemptible as its force is dreadful. Had not your 
confiscators by their early crimes obtained a power 
which secures indemnity to all the crimes of which 
they have since been guilty, or that they can commit, 
it is not the syllogism of the logician, but the lash of 
the executioner, that would have refuted a i^ophistry 
which becomes an accomplice of theft and murder. 
The sophistic tyrants of Paris are loud in tlioir dec- 
lamations against the departed regal tyrants who in 
former ages have vexed the world. They are thus 
bold, because they arc safe from the dungeons and 
iron cages of their old masters. Shall we be more 
tender of the tyrants of our own time, when we see 
them acting worse tragedies under our eyes? Shall 
we not use the same liberty that they do, when we 
can use it with the same safety, when to speak hon- 
est truth only requires a contempt of the opinions of 
those whose actions wo abhor? 

Tliis outrage on all the rights of property was at 
first covered with what, on the system of their con- 
duct, was the most astonishing of all pretexts, — a re- 
gard to national faith. Tlie enemies to projierty at 
first pretended a most tender, delicate, and scruini- 
lous anxiety for keeping the king's engagements witli 
the public creditor. These professors of the rights 
of men are so busy in teaching others, that tlicy have 
not leisure to learn anything theraseh'es ; otherwise 
they woidd have known that it is to the propei-cy of 
the citizen, and not to the demands of tlie creditor of 
the state, that the first and original foith of civil soci- 
ety is pledged. The claim of the citizen is prior in 

'-. s 


", (' 




time, paramount in title, superior in equity. The 
fortunes of indiriduals, whether possessed by acquisi- 
tion, or by descent, or in virtue of a participation in 
the goods of some community, were no part of the 
creditor's security, expressed or implied. They nev- 
er so much as entered into his head, when he made 
his bargain. He well knew that the public, whether 
represented by a monarch or by a senate, can pledge 
nothing but the public estate ; and it can have no 
public estate, except in what it derives from a just 
and proportioned imposition upon the citizens at 
large. This was engaged, and nothing else could be 
engaged, to the public creditor. No man can mort- 
gage his iiyustice as a pawn for his fidelity. 

It is impossible to avoid some observation on the 
contradictions caused by the extreme rigor and the 
extreme laxity of this new public faith, which influ- 
enced in this transaction, and which influenced not 
according to the nature of the obligation, but to the 
description of the persons to whom it was engaged. 
No acts of the old government of the kings of France 
are held valid in the National Asseml)ly, except its 
pecuniary engagements: acts of all others of the 
most ambiguous legality. Tlie rest of the acts of 
that royal government are considered in so odious 
a light that to have a claim under its authority is 
looked on as a sort of crime. A pension, given as a 
reward for service to the state, is surely as good a 
ground of property as any security for moiicy ad- 
vanced to tlie state. It is a better; for money is 
paid, and well paid, to obtain that service. We have, 
however, seen multitudes of people under this descrip- 
tion in France, who never had been deprived of their 
allowances by the most arbitrary ministers in the most 






arbitrary times, by tliis assembly of the rights of men 
robbed without mercy. They were told, iu answer to 
their claim to the bread earned witli their blood, that 
their services had not been rendered to the country 
that now exists. 

This laxity of public faith is not confined to those 
unfortunate persons. Tiie Assembly, with perfect con- 
sistency, it must be owned, is engaged in a respecta- 
ble deliberation how far it is bound by the treaties 
made with other nations under the former govern- 
ment ; and their committee is to report wliicli of them 
they ought to ratify, and which not. By this ui3aus 
they have put the external fidelity of this virgiu state 
on a par with its internal. 

It is not easy to conceive upon what rational prin- 
ciple the royal government should not, of the two, 
rather have possessed the power of rewarding service 
and making treaties, in virtue of its prerogative, than 
that of pledging to creditors the revenue of the 
state, actual and possible. The treasure of tlie na- 
tion, of all things, has been the least allowed to the 
prerogative of the king of France, or to tlie preioga- 
tive ol" any king in Europe. To mortgage tlie public 
revenue implies tlie sovereign dominion, in the fullest 
sense, over the public purse. It goes far beyond the 
trust even of a temporary and occasional taxation. 
The acts, however, of that dangerous power (the dis- 
tinctive mark of a boundh^ss despotism) have been 
alone held sacred. Wheuoe arose this preference 
^iven by a democratic as; eiubly to a body of property 
uv,riving its title from the most critical and obnoxious 
of all tlie exertions of monarchical authority ? Rea- 
son can furnish nothing to reconcile inconsistency; 
uor can partial favor be accounted for u])oii equita- 





Wi i 







' .'(1 


J ': 

!' .' 



i i 4 


t'^ ; ij 

ble principles. But the contradiction and partialitj 
which admit no justification are not the less without 
an adequate cause; and that cause I do not think 
it difficult to discover. 

By tlie vast debt of France a great moneyed interest 
lias insensibly grown up, and with it a great power. 
By the ancioiit usages which prevailed in that king- 
dom, the general circulation of property, and in par- 
ticular the mutual convertibility of land into money 
and of money into land, had always been a matter of 
difficulty. Family settlements, rather more general 
and more strict than they are in England, the Jus 
retractiis, the great mass of landed property held by 
the crown, and, by a maxim of the French law, held 
unalienably. the vast estates of the ecclesiastic corpo- 
rations, — all these had kept the landed and moneyed 
interests more separated in France, less misciblo, and 
the owners of the two distinct species of property not 
so well dii«posed to each other as they are in this 

Tlie moneyed property was long looked on with 
rather an evil eye by the people. They saw it con- 
nected with their distresses, and aggravating them. 
It was no less envied by the old landed interests, — 
partly for the same reasons that rendered it obnox- 
ious to the people, but much more so as it eclipsed, 
by the splundor of an ostentatious luxury, tl"' unen- 
don'ed pedigrees and naked titles of several among 
the nobility. Even wlien the nobility, wl)ich rejire- 
sented the more permanent landed interest, united 
themselves by marriage (which sometimes was the 
case) with tlie other description, the wealth which 
saved the family I'rom ruin was supposed to contam- 
inate and degrade it. Thus the enmities and heart- 

I •" 




buruiugs of tlicso parties were increased even by tbe 
usual means by wbicb discord is made to cease and 
quarrels are turned into friondsbip. In tbe mean 
time, tbe pride of tbe wealtliy men, not noble, or 
newly noble, increased witb its cause. They felt 
witb resentment an inferiority tbe grounds of which 
they did not acknowledge. There was no measure to 
which they were not willing to lend themselves, ir 
order to be revenged of the outrages of this rival 
pride, and to exalt their wealth to what they consid- 
ered as its natural rank and estimation. They struck 
at the nobility through the crown and the Church. 
They attacked them particularly on the side on 
which they thought them the most vul >rable, — that 
is, tbe possessions of tbe Church, w through the 

patronage of tlie crown, generally d ed upon the 
nobility. Tbe bishoprics and tbe commenda- 
tory abbeys were, with few exceptions, held by that 

order. , . . 

In this state of real, though not always perceived, 
warfare between the noble ancient landed interest 
and tlie new moneyed interest, the greatest, because 
the most applicable, strength was in the hands of the 
latter. Tlie moneyed interest is in its nature more 
read'' for any adventure, and its possessors more 
di' to new enterprises of any kind. Being of 

a . acquisition > falls in more naturally ^^tb 

any novelties. It is tliercfore the kind of wealth 
which will be resorted to by all who wish for change. 
Alon-' witb the moneyed interest, a new description 
of niou'^bad grown up, witb whom that interest soon 
formed a clo^c and marked union: I mean tlie politi- 
cal men of letters. Men of letters, fond of distm- 
guisliing themselves, are rarely averse to innovation. 




\' ■ 






I ■ 

!■ I - 


1 ;|: 

Since the decline of the life and greatness of Louis 
the Fourteenth, tlioy were not so much cultivated 
either by him, or by the Regent, or the successors to 
the crown ; nor were tl* ay engaged to the court by 
favors and emoluments so systematically as during 
the splendid period of that ostoitatious and not im- 
politic reign. What they lost in the old court pro- 
tection they endeavored to make up by joining in 
a sort of incorjjoratiou of their own ; to wliicli the 
two academies of France, and afterwards the vast un- 
dertaking of the Encyclopaedia, carried on by a society 
of these gentlemen, did not a little conti'ibute. 

The literary cabal had some years ago formed 
something like a regular plan for the destruction 
of the Christian religion. This object they pursued 
witli a degree of zeal which hitherto had been discov- 
ered only in the propagators of some system of piety. 
They were possessed with a spirit of proselytism in 
the most fanatical degree, — and from thence, by an 
easy progress, witli the spirit of persecution accord- 
ing to their means.* What was not to be done to- 
wards their great end by any direct or immediate act 
might be wrought by a longer process through the 
medium of opinion. To command that opinion, the 
first step is to establish a dominion over those who 
direct it. They contrived to possess themselves, with 
great method and perseverance, of all tlie avenues to 
literary fame. Many of them, indeed, stood high in 
the ranks of literature and science. Tlie world liad 
done them justice, and in favor of general talents 
forgave the evil tendency of their peculiar principles. 

• This (down to the end of the first sentence in the next para- 
graph) and some other parts, here and there, were inserted, on his 
reading the manuscript, by my lust son. 

Ft s 







Tliis was true liberality; which they returned by en- 
deavoring to confine the reputation of sense, learning, 
and taste to themselves or their followers. I will 
venture to say tliat this narrow, exclusive spirit has 
not been less prejudicial to literature and to taste 
than to morals and true philosophy. These atheis-, 
tical fathers have a bigotry of their own ; and they 
have learnt to talk against monks with the spirit of 
a monk. But in some things they are men of the 
world. The resources of intrigue are called in to 
supply the defects of argument and wit. To this sys- 
tem of literary monopoly was joined an unremitt'- g 
industry to blacken and discredit in every way, and 
by every means, all those who did not hold to their 
faction. To those who have observed the spirit of 
their conduct it has long been clear that nothing 
was wanted but the power of carrying the intolerance 
of the tongue and of the pen into a persecution which 
would strike at property, liberty, and life. 

The desultory and faint persecution carried on 
against them, more from compliance with form and 
decency than with serious resentment, neither weak- 
ened their strength nor relaxed their efforts. The 
issue of the whole was, that, what with opposition, 
and what with success, a violent and malignant zeal, 
of a kind hitherto unknown in the world, had taken 
an entire possession of their minds, and rendered 
their whole conversation, which otherwise would have 
been pleasing and instructive, perfectly disgusting. 
A. spirit of cabal, intrigue, and proselytism pervaded 
all their thoughts, words, and actions. And as con- 
troversial zeal soon turns its thoughts on force, they 
began to insinuate themselves into a correspondence 
with foreign princes, — in hopes, through their au- 


< > 

i.y i\ 




■ i I 


■ \ 



1 ^ • 



.'. . ..n 








i * 


thority, which at first thej flattered, they might bring 
about the changes they had in view. To them it was 
indifferent whether these changes were to be accom- 
plished by the thunderbolt of despotism or by the 
earthquake of popular commotion. The correspond- 
ence between this cabal and the late king of Prussia 
will throw no small liglit upon the spirit of all their 
proceedings.* For the same purpose for which tliey 
intrigued with princes, they cultivated, in a distin- 
guished manner, the moneyed interest of France ; and 
partly through the means furnished by those whoso 
peculiar offices gave them the most extensive and cer- 
tain moans of communication, they carefully occu- 
pied all the avenues to opinion. 

Writers, especially when they act in a body and 
with one direction, have great influence on the pub- 
lic mind; the alliance, therefore, of these writers 
with the moneyed interest t had no small effect in re- 
moving the popular odium and envy which attended 
that species of wealth. These writers, like the prop- 
agators of all novelties, pretended to a great zeal for 
the poor and the lower orders, whilst in their satires 
they rendoi-ed hateful, by every exaggeration, tlie 
faults of courts, of nobility, and of priesthood. They 
became a tort of demagogues. They served as a link 
to unite, in favor of one object, obnoxious wealth to 
restless and desperate poverty. 

As these two kinds of men appear principal leaders 
in all the late tra inactions, their junction and poli- 
tics will serve to account, not upon any principles of 
law or of policy, but as a cause, for tlie general fury 

• I do not choose to shock the feeling of the moral reader with 
any quotaiion of their vulgar, base, and profane language. 

t Their connection with Turgot nrnl almost all the people of the 



with which all the landed property of ecclesiastical 
corporations has been attacked, and the great care 
which, contrary to their pretended principles, has 
been taken of a moneyed interest originating from 
the authority of the crown. All the envy against 
wealth ' nd power was artificially directed against oth- 
er descriptions of riches. On what other principle 
than that which I have stated can we account for an 
appearance so .:.traordinary and unnatiiral as that of 
the ecclesiastical possessions, which had stood so ma- 
ny successions of ages and shocks of civil violences, 
and wen guarded at once by justice and by preju- 
dice, being applied to the payment of debts compara- 
lively recent, invidious, and contracted by a decried 
and subverted government ? 

Was the public estate a sufficient stake for the 
public debts? Assume that it was not, and that a 
loss mmt be incurred somewhere. When the only 
estate lawfully possessed, and which the contracting 
parties had in contemplation at the time m which 
their bargain was made, happens to fail, who, accord- 
ing to the principles of natural and legal equity, 
ou-lit to be the sufferer? Certainly it ought to be 
either the partv A'ho trusted, or the party who per- 
suaded him to trust, or both; and not third parties 
who had no concern with the transaction. Ijpon 
any insolvency, tlicy ought to suffer who were weak 
euougli to lend upon bad security, or they who fraud- 
ulently held out a security that was not valid. Laws 
are acquainted with no other rules of decision. But 
by the new institute of the rights of men, tlie only 
persons who in equity ought to suffer are the only 
persons who are to be saved harmless : thoso are to 
answer the debt who neither were lenders nor bor- 
rowers, mortgagers nor mortgagees. 

1 1 ^ ^ 'I 


' . «!' 









"What had the clergy to do with these transactions ? 
"What liad they to do with any public engagement 
further than the extent of their own debt ? To that, 
to be sure, their estates were bound to the last acre. 
Nothing can lead more to the true spirit of the As- 
sembly, which sits for public confiscation with its 
new equity and its new morality, than an attention 
to their proceeding with regard to this debt of the 
clergy. The body of confiscators, true to that mon- 
eyed interest for which they were false to every oth- 
er, have found the clergy competent to incur a legal 
debt. Of course they declared them legally entitled 
to the property which their power of incurring the 
debt and mortgaging the estate implied : recognizing 
the rights of those persecuted citizens in the very 
net in which they were thus grossly violated. 

If, as I said, any persons are to make good defi- 
ciencies to the public creditor, besides the public at 
large, they must be those who managed the agree- 
ment. Why, therefore, are not the est ies of all the 
comptrollers-general confiscated?* Why not those 
of the long succession of ministers, financiers, and 
bankers who have been enriched whilst the nation 
was impoverished by their dealings and their coun- 
sels ? Why is not the estate of M. Laborde declared 
forfeited rather than of the Archbishop of Paris, who 
has had nothing to do in the creation or in the job- 
bing of the public funds ? Or, if you must confiscate 
old landed estates in favor of the money-jobbers, why 
is the penalty confined to one description ? I do not 
know whether the expenses of the Duke de Choiseul 
have left anything of the infinite sums which he had 
derived from the bounty of his master, during the 

* All have been confiscated in their turn. 

nEvot^unoN in fbance. 


transactions of a reign which contributed largely, by 
every species of prodigality in war and peace, to the 
present debt of Franco. If any such remains, why is 
not this confiscated? I remember to have been in 
Paris during the time of the old government. I 
was there just after the Duke d'xiiguiUon had been 
snatched (as it was generally thought) from tho 
block by the hand of a protecting despotism. He 
was a minister, and had some concern in the affairs 
of that prodigal period. Why do I not see his estate 
delivered up to the municipalities in which it is situ- 
ated ? The noble family of Noailles have long been 
Bcrvants (meritorious servants I admit) to the crown 
of France, and had of course some share in its 
bounties. Why do I hear nothing of the applica- 
tion of their estates to the public debt ? Wliy is the 
estate of the Duke de Rochefoucault more sacred 
than that of the Cardinal de Rochefoucault? The 
fcmer is, I doubt not, a worthy person ; and (if it 
were not a sort of profaneness to talk of the use, as 
affecting the title to property) he makes a good use 
of his revenues ; but it is no disrespect to him to say, 
what authentic information well warrants me in say- 
ing that the use made of a property equally valid, 
by his brother,* the Cardinal Archbishop of Rouen, 
was far more laudable and far more public-spirited. 
Can one hear of tho proscription of such persons, and 
the c . .location of their effects, without indignation 
and horror ? He is not a man who does not feel such 
emotions on such occasions. He does not deserve 
the name of a free man who will not express them. 
Few barbarous conquerors have ever made so ter- 

• Not his brother, nor an, near relation ; but this mistake does not 
affect tho a'jp-irent. 








.7i i'. 



riblo a rovolutioii in property. None of the heads 
of tho Roniau factions, when thoy c?tal>lished cn*- 
ddem illam hastam in all their auctions of rapine, 
have ever set up to sale tho goods of the conquered 
citizen to such an enormous amount. It must bo 
allowed in l\ivor of those tyrants of antiquity, that 
what was done by them could hardly bo said to be 
done in cold blood. Their passions wore inflamed, 
tlioir tempers soured, their undorstaiulinc^ *"-'>fuRod 
witli tiio spirit of revenge, with the innuniorublo 
reciprocated and recent inflictions and retaliations 
of blood and rapino. They were driven beyond all 
bounds of moderation by the apprehension of the re- 
turn of power with the return of property to the 
''"milies of those they had injured beyond all hopo 


!i ) :|.:| 

<e Roman confiscators, who were yet only in 
ments of tryranny, and were not instructed 
in the rights of men to exercise all sorts of cruelties 
on each other without provocation, thonglit it neces- 
sary to spread a sort of color over their iryustice. 
Tiiey considered the vanquished party as composed of 
traitors, who had borne arms, or otherwise had acted 
with hostility, against the commonwealth. Tliey re- 
garded tliem as persons who had forfeited their prop- 
erty by their crimes. With you, in your improved 
state of the human mind, there was no such formal- 
ity. You seized upon five millions sterling of annual 
rent, and turned forty or fifty thousand human crea- 
tures out of their houses, because " such was your 
pleasure." The tyrant Harry tho Eighth of England, 
as he was not better enlightened than tlio Roman 
Mariusos and Syllas, and had not studied in your 
new schools, did not know wliat an o(Tectaal instru- 




meiit of despotism was to l^e found in that grand 
niM^^iizine of olTonBivo weapons, the rights of men. 
When he resolved to rob the abbeys, as the club of 
the Jacobins have robbed nil tlie ecclesiastics, he be- 
gan by setting on foot a commission to examine into 
the crimes and abuses which prevailed in those com- 
munities. As it might be expected, his commission 
reported truths, exaggerations, and falsehoods. But 
truly or falsely, it reported abuses and offences. How- 
ever, av. nbusDs might be corr:?cted, as every crime of 
persons does not infer a forteit uro w ith regard to com- 
munities, and as property, in that dark age, was not 
discovered to be a creature of prejudice, all those 
abuses (and there were enough of them) were hardly 
thought sufficient ground for such a confiscation as it 
was for his purposes to make. Ho therefore procured 
the formal surrender of these estates. All these op- 
erose proceedings were adopted by one of the most 
decided tyrants in the rolls of history, as necessary 
preliminaries, before he could venture, by bribing 
the members of his two servile Houses with a .-hare 
of the spoil, and holding out to them an eternal im- 
munity from taxation, to demand a confirmation of 
his iniquitous proceedings by an act of Parliament. 
Had fate reserved him to our times, four technical 
terms would have done his business, and saved hira 
all this trouble; he needed nothing more than one 
short form of incantation: — ^'■Philosophy, Light, Lib- 
erah'ty, the Rights of Men" 

I can say nothing in praise of those acts of tyranny, 
which no voice has hitherto ever commended under 
any of their false colors ; yet in these false colors an 
homage was pa.i by despotism to justice. The power 
which was above all fear and all remorse was not set 


^ 1 

f; ill .| 







VOL. in. 


;M i': 




'f ' 




above all shame. Whilst shame keeps its watch, vir- 
tue is not wholly extinguished in the heart, nor will 
moderation be utterly exiled from the minds of ty- 

I believe every honest man sympathizes in his re- 
flections with our political poet on that occasion, and 
will pray to avert the omen, whenever these acts of 
rapacious despotism present themselves to his view or 
his imagination : — 

" May no such storm 
Fall on our times, where ruin must reform ! 
Tell me, my Muse, what monstrous, dire oflfence, 
What crime could any Christian king incenso 
To such a rage t Was 't luxury, or lust f 
Was he so temperate, so chaste, so just 1 
Were these their crimes 1 They were his own much more : 
But wealth is crime enough to him that's poor."* 

This same wealth, which is at all times treason 
and leze^ation to indigent and rapacious despotism, 
under all modes of polity, was your temptation to 

• The rest of the passage is this : — 

" Who, having spent the treasures of his crown, 
Condemns tlieir luxury to feed his own. 
And yet this act, to varnish o'er the shame 
Of sacrilege, must bear Devotion's name. 
No crime so bold, but would t3 understood 
A real, or at least a seeming good. 
Who fears not to do ill, yet fears the name. 
And free from conscience, is a slave to fame. 
Thus he the Church at once protects and spoils : 
But princes' swords are sharper than their styles. 
And thus to th' ages past he makes amends, 
Their charity destroys, their faith defends. 
Then did Religion in a lazy cell, 
In empty, airy conten.plations, dwell; 
And like the block, unmovtd lay! but ours, 
As much too active, like the stork devours. 
Is there no temperate region can be known 
Betwixt their frigid and our torrid zone? 





violate property, law, and religion, united in one ob- 
ject. But was the state of France so wretched and 
undone, that no other resource but rapine remained 
to preserve its existence ? On this point I wish to re- 
ceive some information. When the States met, was 
the condition of the finances of France such, that, 
after economizing, on principles of justice and mercy, 
through all departments, no fair repartition of bur- 
dens upon all the orders could possibly restore them ? 
If such an equal imposition would have been suffi- 
cient, you well know it might easily have been made. 
M. Necker, in the budget which he laid before the 
orders assembled at Versailles, made a detailed ex- 
position of the state of the French nation.* 

If we give credit to him, it was not necessary to 
have recourse to any new impositions whatsoever, to 
put the receipts of France on a balance with its ex- 
penses. He stated the permanent charges of all de- 
scriptions, including the interest of a new loan of 
four hundred millions, at 531,444,000 livres ; the 

Could we not wake from that lethargic dream, 
But to be restless in a worse extreme? 
And for that lethargy was there no cure, 
But to be cast into a calenture? 
Can knowledge have no bound, but must advance 
So far, to make us wish for ignorance. 
And rather in the dark to grope our way, 
Than, led by a false guide, to err by day ? 
Who sees these dismal heaps, but would demand 
What barbarous invader sack'd the land? 
But when he hears no Goth, no Turk did bring 
This desolation, but a Christian king. 
When nothing but the name of zeal appears 
'Twixt our best actions and the worst of theirs. 
What does he think our sacrilege would siiare, 
When such th' effects of our devotions are? " 

Cooper't Hill, by Sir John Deioiam. 

♦ Rapport de Mens, le Directeur-G^n^ral des Finances, fait par 

Ordre du Roi i Versailles. Mai 5, 1789. 


' 1^ 






^ .i#( 

.1 ' 

fixed revenue at 475,294,000 : making the deficiency 
66,150,000, or short of 2,200,000Z. sterling. But to 
balance it, he brought forward savings and improve- 
ments of revenue (considered as entirely certain) to 
rather more than the amount of that deficiency ; 
and he concludes with these emphatical words (p. 
39) : — " Quel pays, Messieurs, que celui, ou, sum 
impdts cc avec de simples objets inaperfus, on pent 
faire dis/nroltre un d<ificit qui a fait tant de bruit en 
Europe '.' As to th , reimbursement, the sinking of 
debt, and the other great objects of public credit and 
political arrangement indicated in Monsieur Necker's 
speech, no doubt could be entertained but that a very 
moderate and proportioned assessment ou the citi- 
zens without distinction would have provided for all 
of them to the fullest extent of their demand. 

If this representation of M. Necker was false, then 
the Assembly are in tlie highest degree culpable for 
having forced the king to accept as his minister, 
and, since the king's deposition, for having employed 
as their minister, a man who had been capable of 
abusing so notoriously the confidence of his master 
and their own : in a matter, too, of the highest mo- 
ment, and directly appertaining to his particular of- 
fice. But if the representation was exact, (as, hav- 
ing always, along with you, conceived a high degree 
of respect for M. Necker, I make no doubt it was,) 
then what can be said in favor of those who, instead 
of moderate, reasonable, and general contribution, 
have in cold blood, and impelled by no necessity, 
had recourse to a partial and cruel confiscation ? 

Was that contribution refused on a pretext of priv- 
ilege, cither on the part of the clergy, or on that of 
the nobility ? No, certainly. As to the clergy, they 



even ran before the wishes of the third order. Pre- 
vious to the meeting of the States, they had in all 
their instructions expressly directed their deputies 
to renounce every immunity which put them upon a 
footing distinct from the condition of their fellow- 
subjects. In this renunciation the clergy were even 
more explicit than the nobility. 

But let us suppose that the deficiency had re- 
mained at the fifty-six millions, (or 2,200,000Z. ster- 
ling,) as at first stated by M. Necker. Let us al- 
low that all ^'"^ resources he opposed to that defi- 
ciency .were ' ^nt and groundless fictions, and 
that the Assl. or their lords of articles * at the 
Jacobins) were from thence justified in laying the 
whole burden of that deficiency on the clergy, — yet 
allowing all this, a necessity of 2,200,OOOZ. sterling 
will not support a confiscation to the amount of five 
millions. The imposition of 2,200,000i. on the cler- 
gy, as partial, would have been oppressive and un- 
just, but it would not have been altogether ruinous 
to those on whom it was imposed ; and therefore it 
would not have answered the real purpose of the 

Perhaps persons unacquainted with the staAe of 
France, on hearing the clergy and the noblesse were 
privileged in point of taxation, may be led to imag- 
ine, that, previous to the Revolution, these bodies had 
contributed nothing to the state. This is a great 
mistake. They certainly did not contribute equally 
with each other, nor either of them equally with the 

• In the Constitution of Scotland, during the Stuart reigns, a 
comm'ttee sat for preparing bills ; and none could pass, but tliose 
previously approved by them. This committee wag called Lords o< 






^ r '■ 




commons. They both, however, contributed largely. 
Neither nobility nor clergy enjoyed any exemption 
from tlie excise on consumable commodities, from du- 
ties of custom, or from any of the other numerous irir 
direct impositions, which in France, as well as here, 
make so very large a proportion of all payments to 
the public. The noblesse paid the capitation. They 
paid also a land-tax, called the twentieth penny, to 
the height sometimes of three, sometimes of four 
shillings in the pound : both of them direct imposi- 
tions, of no light nature, and no trivial produce. 
The clergy of the provuices annexed by conquest to 
France (which in extent make about an eighth part 
of the whole, but in wealth a much larger propor- 
tion) paid likewise to the capitation and the twen- 
tieth penny, at the rate paid by tlie nobility. The 
clergy in the old provinces did not pay the capita- 
tion; but they had redeemed themselves at the ex- 
pense of about twenty-four millions, or a little more 
than a million sterling. They were exempted from 
the twentieths : but then they made free gifts ; they 
contracted de'-^ts for tlie state ; and they were subject 
to some oiher charges, the whole computed at about 
a thirteenth part of their clear income. They ought 
to have paid annually about forty thousand pounds 
more, to put them on a par with the contribution of 
tlie nobility. 

When the terrors of this tremendous proscription 
hung over the clergy, they made an offer of a contri- 
bution, througli the Archbishop of Aix, which, for its 
extravagance, ought not to have been accepted. But 
it was evidently and obviously more advantageous 
to the public creditor tlian anything which could ra- 
tionally be promised by the confiscation. Why was 

I ill 



.t not accepted ? The reason is plain : - There wa-, 
uo desire that the Church should be brought to ser.e 
the Stote. The service of the State was made a pre- 
text to destroy the Church. In their way to the 
destruction of the Church thoy would not scruple to 
destroy their country: and they have destroyed it. 
One great end in the project would have aeen de- 
feated, if the plan of extortion had been adopted in 
Ueu of the scheme of confiscation. The new landed 
interest connected with the new republic, and con- 
nected with it for its very being, could not have beea 
created. Tliis was among the reasons why that ex- 
travagant ransom was not accepted. 

The madness of the project of confiscation, on the 
plan that was first pretended, soon became apparent. 
To bring this unwieldy mass of landed property, en- 
larged by the confiscation of all the vast lauded do- 
main of the crown, at once into market was obviously 
to defeat the profits proposed by the confiscation by 
depreciating the value of those lands, and indeed of 
all the landed estates throughout France. Such a 
sudden diversion of all its circulating f^of >' ^o*" 
trade to land must be an additional mischief. What 
step was taken? Did the Assembly, on becoming sen- 
sible of the inevitable ill effects of their projected sale, 
revert to the offers of the clergy ? No distress could 
oblige them to travel in a course which was disgraced 
by any appearance of justice. Giving over all hopes 
from a general immediate sale, another project seems 
to have succeeded. They proposed to take stock in 
exchange lo" the Church lands. In that project great 
difficulties arose in equalizing the objects to be ex- 
changed. Other obstacles also presented themselves, 
which threw them back again upon some project ot 

* f 




sale. The municipalities had taken an alarm. They 
would not hear of transferring the whole plunder of 
the kingdom tu tlie stockholders in Paris. Many of 
those municipalities had been (upon system) reduced 
to the most deplorable indigence. Money was no- 
where to be seen. They were therefore led to the 
point that was so ardently desired. They panted for 
a currency of any kiud which might revive their per- 
ishing industry. The municipalities were, then, to be 
admitted to a share in the spoil, which evidently ren- 
dered the first scheme (if ever it had been seriously 
entertained) altogether impracticable. Public exigen- 
cies pressed upon all sides. Tlie Minister of Finance 
reiterated his call for supply with a most urgent, 
anxious, and boding voice. Thus pressed on all 
sides, instead of the first plan of converting their 
bankers into bishops and abbots, instead of payuig 
the old debt, tliey contracted a new debt, at three 
per cent, creating a new paper currency, founded on 
an eventual sale of the Church lands. Tliey issued 
this paper currency to satisiy in the first instance 
cliiefly the demands made upon them by the bank of 
di»cuunt^ the great machine or paper-mill of their fic- 
titious wealth. 

The spoil of the Church was now become the only 
resource of all their operations in finance, the vital 
principle of all their politics, the sole security for the 
existence of their power. It was necessary, by all, 
even the most violent means, to put every individual 
on the same bottom, and to bind the nation in one 
guilty uiterest to uphold this act, aud the authority 
of those by whom it was done. In order to force the 
most reluctant into a participation of their pillage, 
they rendered their paper circulation compulsory in 



all payments. Inose who consider the general ten- 
dency of their schemes to this one object as a centre, 
and a centre from which afterwards all their meas- 
ures radiate, will not think that I dwell too long 
upon this part of the proceedings of the National 

To cut ofif all appearance of connection between 
the crown and public justice, and to bring the whole 
under implicit obedience to the dictators iu Pans, 
the old independent judicature of the Parliaments, 
with all its merits and all its faults, was wholly abol- 
ished. "Whilst the Parliaments existed, it was evi- 
dent that the people might some time or other come 
to resort to them, and rally under the standard of 
their ancient laws. It became, however, a matter of 
consideration, that the magistrates and officers in the 
courts now abolished had purchased their places at a 
very high rate, for which, as well as for the duty 
they performed, they received but a very low re- 
turn of interest. Simple confiscation is a boon only 
for the clergy : to the lawyers some appearances of 
equity are to be observed ; and tliey are to receive 
compensation to an immense amount. Their com- 
pensation becomes part of the national debt, for the 
liquidation of which there is the one exhaustless 
fund. The lawyers are to obtain their compensation 
in the new Churclx paper, which is to march with the 
new principles of judicature and legislature. The 
dismissed magistrates are to take th ;ir share of mar- 
tvrdom with the ecclesiastics, or to receive their own 
property from such a fund and in such a manner as 
all those who have been seasoned with the ancient 
principles of jurisprudence, and had been the sworn 
guardians of property, must look upon with horror. 








-I ■' ''Hi 

P1 1 i- 

Even the clergy are to receive their miserable allow- 
ance out of the depreciated paper, which is stamped 
with the indelible character of sacrilege, and with the 
symbols of their own ruin, or they must starve. So 
violent an outrage upon credit, property, and liberty, 
as this compulsory paper currency, has seldom been 
exhibited by the alliance of bankruptcy and tyranny, 
at any time, or in any nation. 

In the course of all these operations, at length 
comes out the grand arcanum, — that in reality, and 
in a fair sense, the lands of tht Church (so far as 
anything certain can be gathered from their proceed- 
ings) are not to be sold at all. By the late resolu 
tions of the National Assembly, they are, indeed, to 
be delivered to the highest bidder. But it is to be 
observed, that a certain portion only of the purchase- 
money is to he laid down. A period of twelve years 
is to be given for the payment of the rest. The phil- 
osophic purchasers are therefo-'e, on payment of a 
sort of fine, to be put instantly into possession of the 
estate. It becomes in some respects a sort of gift to 
them, — to be held on the feudal tenure of zeal to 
the new establishment. This project is evidently to 
let in a body of purchasers without money. The con- 
sequence will be, that these purciiasers, or rather 
grantees, will pay, not only from the rents as they 
accrue, which might as well be received by the state, 
but from the spoil of the materials of buildings, from 
waste in woods, and from whatever money, by hands 
habituated to the gripings of usury, they can wring 
from the miserable peasant. He is to be delivered 
over to the mercenary and arbitrary discretion of 
men \ lO will be stimulated to every species of ex- 
tortion by the growing demands on the growing prof- 

I -I'j 



its of an estate held under the precarious setUomeut 
of a new political system. 

When all the frauds, impostures, violences, rap- 
ines, burnings, murders, confiscations, compulsory 
paper currencies, and every description of tyranny 
and cruelty employed to bring about and to uphold 
this Revolution have their natural effect, that is, to 
shock the moral sentiments of all virtuous and sober 
minds, the abettors of this philosophic system imme- 
diately strain their throats in a declamation against 
the old monarchical government of France. When 
they have rendered that deposed power sufficiently 
black, they then proceed in argument, as if all those 
who disapprove of their new abuses must of course 
be partisans of the old, — that those who reprobate 
their crude and violent schemes of liberty ought to 
be treated as advocates for servitude. I admit that 
their necessities do compel them to this base and con- 
temptible fraud. Nothing can reconcile men to their 
proceedings and projects but the supposition that there 
is no third option between them and some tyranny as 
odious as can be furnished by the records of history 
or by the invention of poets. This prattling of theirs 
hardly deserves the name of sophistry. It is nothing 
but plain impudence. Have these gentlemen never 
heard, in the whole circle of the worlds of theory and 
practice, of anything between the despotism of the 
monarch and the despotism of the multitude ? Have 
they never heard of a monarchy directed by laws, 
controlled and balanced by the great hereditary 
wealth and hereditary dignity of a nation, and both 
again controlled by a judicious check from the rea- 
son and feeling of the people at large, acting by a 
suitable and permanent organ ? Is it, then, impossi- 










I f 

:> {i. 





ble that a man may be found who, without criminal 
ill intention or pitiable absurdity, shall prefer such a 
mixed and tempered government to either of the ex- 
tremes, — and who may repute that nation to be des- 
titute of all wisdom and of all virtue, which, having 
in its choice to obtain such a government with ease, 
or rather to confirm it when actually possessed, thought 
proper to commit a thousand crimes, and to subject 
their mtry to a thousand evils, in order to avoid 
it ? AS it, then, a truth so universally acknowledged, 
that a pure democracy is the only tolerable form into 
which human society can be thrown, that a man is 
not permitted to hesitate about its merits, without 
the suspicion of being a friend to tyranny, that is, of 
being a foe to mankind ? 

I do not know under w'.iat description to class the 
present ruling authority in France. It afiFects to be 
a pure democracy, though I think it in a direct train 
of becoming shortly a mischievous and ignoble oli- 
garchy. But for the present I admit it to be a con- 
trivance of the nature and effect of what it pretends 
to. I reprobate no form of government merely upon 
abstract principles. There may be situations in which 
the purely democratic form will become necessary. 
There may be some (very few, and very particularly 
circumstanced) where it would be clearly desirable. 
This I do not take to be the case of France, or of 
any other great country. Until now, we have seen 
no examples of considerable democracies. The an- 
cients were better acquainted with them. Not being 
wholly unread in the authors who had seen the most 
of those constitutions, and who best understood them, 
I cannot help concunmg with their opinion, that an 
absolute democracy no more than absolute monarchy 



is to bo reckoned among the legitimate foi-ms of gov- 
ernment. They think it rather the corruption and 
degeneracy than the sound const'' .ition of a republic. 
If I recollect rightly, Aristotle observes, that a de- 
mocracy has many striking points of resemblance 
with a tyranny.* Of this I am certain, that m a 
democracy the majority of the citizens is capable of 
exercising the most cruel oppressions upon the minor- 
ity, whenever strong divisions prevail m that kind ot 
polity, as they often must, — and that oppression of 
the minority will extend to far greater numbers, and 
will be carried on with much greater fury, than can 
almost ever bo apprehended from the dominion of a 
single sceptre. In such a popular persecution, indi- 
vidual sufferers are in a much more deplorable con- 
dition than in any other. Under a cruel prince they 
have the balmy compassion of mankind to assuage 
the smart of their wounds, they have the plaudits of 
the people to animate their generous constancy under 
their sufferings : but those who are subjected to wrong 
under multitudes are deprived of all external conso- 

• When 1 wrote this I quoted from memory, after man, years had 
elapsed from my read!:. . "he passage. A learned friend has found it. 
and it is as follows : — 

rot fitiTOVMiTa, KOI * «i|)«y<«Y« K" ■> «"""* , , ,^^J 

iropa Toi« Sriixait nit toioutow. 

..The ethical character is the same: both exercise despotism orer 
the better class of citizens; and decrees are in the one what ordi- 
nances and arrSts are in the other: the demasope, too, and the ^nr^ 
favorite, are not unfrequently the same identical men, and always 
bear a close analogy ; and these have the principal power, each m 
their respective forms of government, favorites the absolate mon- 
arch, and demagogues with a people such as I have described. - 
Arist. Politic, lib. iv. cap. 4. 




111 . 





■! I 

lation ; they seem deserted by mankind, overpow- 
ered by a conspiracy of their whole species. 

But admitting democracy not to have that inerita- 
ble tendency to pcrty tyranny which I suppose it to 
have, and admitting it to possess as much good in it 
when unmixed as I am sure it possesses when com- 
pounded with otijcr forms; does monarchy, on its 
part, contain notliing at all to recommend it? I do 
not often quote Bolingbroke, nor have his works in 
general left any permanent impression on my mind. 
He is a presumptuous and a superficial writer. But 
he has one observation which in my opinion is not 
without depth and solidity. He says that ho prefers 
a monarchy to other governments, because you can 
better ingraft any description of republic on a monar- 
chy than anything of monarchy upon the republican 
forms. I think him perfectly in the right. The fact 
is so historically, and it agrees well with the specula- 

I know how easy a topic it is to dwell on the faults 
of departed greatness. By a revolution in the state, 
the fawning sycophant of yesterday is converted into 
the austere critic of tl\.' present hour. But steady, 
independent minds, when they have an object of so 
serious a concern to mankind as government under 
their contemplation, will disdain to assume the part 
of satirists and declaimers. They will judge of hu- 
man institutions as they do of human characters. 
They will sort out the good from the evil, which 
is mixed in mortal institutions as it is in mortal 


Your government in France, though usually, and 
I think justly, reputed the best of the unqualified 
or ill-qualified monarchies, was still full of abuses. 



> i I ■ 



These abuses accumulated in a length of time, as 
they must accumulate in every monarchy not under 
the constant inspccHon '^f a popular representative. 
I am no stranger to ults and defects o the 

subverted govcrni-ont .nee ; and I think 1 am 

not inclined .j -are or ))olicy to make a panegyric 
upon anytliing which is a just and natural object of 
censure. But the question is not now of the vices 
of that monarchy, but of its existence. Is it, then, 
true, that the French government was sucli as to 
he incapable or undeserving of reform, so that it 
was of absolute necessity the whole fabric should be 
at once pulled down, and the area cleared for the 
erection of a theoretic, experimental edifice in its 
place ' All France v as of a different opinion m the 
beginning of the year 1789. The instructions to the 
representatives to the States-General, from every dis- 
trict in that kingdom, were filled with projects for 
the reformation of th.t government, without the re- 
motest suggestion of a design to destroy it. Had 
such a design been then even insinuated, I believe 
there would have been but one voice, and that voice 
for rejecting it with scorn and horror. Men have 
been sometimes led by degrees, sometimes hurried, 
into things of which, if they could have seen the 
whole together, they never would have permitted 
the most remote approach. When those instructions 
were given, there was no question but that abuses 
existed, and that they demanded a reform : nor is 
there now. In the interval between the instructions 
and the Revolution things changed their shape ; and 
in consequence of that change, the true question at 
present is, whether those who would have reformed 
or those who have destroyed are in the right. 


<i . 










To hear some men speak of the late monarchy of 
France, you would imagine that they were talking 
of Persia bleeding under the ferocious sword of Tha- 
mas Kouli Khan, — or at least describing the barba- 
rous anarchic despotism of Turkey, where the finest 
countries in the mo&t genial climates in the world 
are wasted by peace more than any countries have 
been worried by war, where arts are unknown, 
where manufactures languish, where science is ex- 
tinguished, where agriculture decays, where the hu- 
man race itself melts away and perishes under the 
eye of the ob"erver. Was this the case of France ? 
I have no way of determining the question but by a 
reference to facts. Facts do not support this resem- 
blance. Along with much evil, there is some good 
in monarchy itself; and some corrective to its evil 
from religion, from laws, from manners, from opin- 
ions, the French monarchy must have received, 
which rendered it (though by no means a free, and 
therefore by no means a good constitution) a despot- 
ism rather in appearance than in reality. 

Among the standards upon which the effects of 
government on any country are to be estimated, I 
must consider the state of its population as not the 
least certain. No country in which population flour- 
ishes, and is in progressive improvement, can be un- 
der a very mischievous government. About sixty 
years ago, the Intendants of the Generalities of Fiance 
made, with other matters, a report of the population 
of their several districts. I have not the books, which 
are very voluminous, by me, nor do I know where to 
procure them, (I am obliged to spoak by memory, 
and therefore the less positively,) but I think the 
population of France was by them, even at that pe- 



riod, estimated at twenty-two millions of souls. At 
the end of the last century it had been generally 
calculated at eighteen. On either of these estima- 
tions, France was not ill-peopled. M. Neckor, who 
is an authority for his own time at least equal to the 
Intendants for theirs, reckons, and upon apparently 
sure principles, the people of France, in the year 
1780, at twenty-four millions six hundred and sev- 
enty thousand. But was this the probable ultimate 
term under the old establishment ? Dr. Price is of 
opinion that the growth of population in France was 
by no moans at its acme in that year. I certainly 
defer to Dr. Price's authority a good deal more in 
these speculations than I do in his general politics. 
This gentleman, taking ground on M. Neckcr's data, 
is very confident that since the period of that minis- 
ter's calculation the French population has increased 
rapidly, — so rapidly, that in the year 1789 he will 
not consent to rate the people of that kingdom at 
a lower number than thirty millions. After abating 
much (and much I think ought to be abated) from 
the sanguine calculation of Dr. Price, I have no 
doubt that ti.a population of France did increase 
considerably during this latter period : but suppos- 
ing that it increased to nothing more than will be 
sufficient to complete the twenty-four millions six 
hundred and seventy tliousand to twenty-five mil- 
lions, still a population of twenty-five millions, and 
that in an increasing progress, on a space of about 
twenty-seven thousand square leagues, is immense. 
It is, for instance, a good deal more than the pro- 
portionable population of this island, or even than 
that of England, the best peopled part of the United 







It is not universally true that France is a fertile 
country. Considerable tracts of it are barren, and la- 
bor under other natural disadvantages. In the por- 
tions of that territory where things are more favora- 
ble, as far as I am able to discover, the numbers of 
the people correspond to the indulgence of Nature.* 
The Generality of Lisle, (this I admit is the strongest 
example,) up( ii an extent of four hundred and four 
leagues and a half, about ten years ago contained 
seven hundred and thirty-four thousand six hundred 
souls, which is one thousand seven hundred and sev- 
enty-two inhabitants to each square league. The mid- 
dle term for the rest of France is about nine hundred 
inhabitants to the same admeasurement. 

I do not attribute this population to the deposed 
government ; because I do not like to compliment 
the contrivances of men with what is due in a great 
degree to the bounty of Providence. But that de- 
cried government could not have obstructed, most 
probably it favored, the operation of those causes, 
(whatever they were,) whether of Nature in the soil, 
or habits of industry among the people, which has 
produced so large a number of the species through- 
out that whole kingdom, and exhibited in some par- 
ticular places such prodigies of population. I never 
will suppose thai fabric of a state to be the worst of 
all political institutions which by experience is found 
to contain a principle favorable (however latent it 
may be) to the increase of mankind. 

The wealth of a country is another, and no con- 
temptible standard, by which we may judge whether, 
on the whole, a government be protecting or destruo- 

• De r Administration dea Finances de la France, par Mons. 
Necker, Vol. I. p. 289 



tive. France far exceeds England in the mulUtado 
of her people ; but I apprehend that her comparativo 
wealth is much inferior to ours, — that it is not so 
equal in the distribution, nor so ready in the circu- 
lation. I believe the difference in the form of the 
two governments to be amongst the causes of this 
advantage on the side of England : I speak of Eng- 
land, not of the whole British dominions,— which, if 
compared with those of France, will in some degree 
weaken the comparative rate of wealth upon our side. 
But that wealth, which will not e .dure a comparison 
with the riches of England, may constitute a very 
respectable degree of opulence. M. Necker's book, 
published in 1785,* contains ar accurate and inter- 
esting collection of facts relative to public economy 
and to political arithmetic ; and his speculations on 
the subject are in general wise and liberal. In that 
work he gives an idea of the state of France, very 
remote from the portrait of a country whose govern- 
ment was a perfect grievance, an absolute evil, admit- 
ting no cure but through the violent and uncertain 
remedy of a total revolution. He affirms, that from 
the year 1726 to the year 1784 there was coined at 
the mint of France, in the species of gold and silver, 
to the amount of about one hundred millions of 

pounds sterling.! 

It is impossible that M. Necker should be mis- 
taken in the amount of the bullion which has been 
coined in the mint. It is a matter of official rec- 
ord. The reasonings of this able financier concern- 
ing the quantity of gold and silver which remained 
for circulation, when he wrote in 1785, that is, about 

• De rAdministration dea Finances de la France, par M. Necker. 
t Vol. HI. chap. 8 and chap. 9. 












four years before the deposition and imprisonment 
of the French king, are not of equal certainty ; but 
they are laid on grounds so apparently solid, that it 
is not easy to refuse a considerable degree of assent 
to his calculation. He calculates the numeraire, or 
what wo call specie, then actually existing in France, 
at about eighty-eight millions of the same English 
money. A great accumulation of wealth for one 
country, large as that country is! M. Necker was 
so far iVom considering this influx of wealth as likely 
to cease, when he wrote in 1785, that he presumes 
upon a future ann'ial increase of two per cent upon 
the money brought into France during the periods 
from which he computed. 

Some adequate cause must have originally intro- 
duced all the money coined at its mint into that king- 
dom ; and some cause as operative must have kept at 
home, or returned into its uosom, such a vast flood of 
treasure as M. Necker calculates to remain for do- 
mestic circulation. Suppose any reasonable deduc- 
tions from M. Neclcer's computation, the remainder 
must still amount to an immense sum. Causes thus 
powerful to acquire and to retain cannot be found 
in discouraged industry, insecure property, and a 
positively destructive government. Indeed, when 1 
consider the face of the kingdom of France, the mul- 
titude and opulence of her cities, the useful mag- 
nificence of her spacious high-roads and bridges, thd 
opportunity of her artificial canals and navigations 
opening the conveniences of maritime communication 
through a solid continent of so immense an (^xtent, — 
when I turn my eyes to the stupendous works of her 
ports and harbors, and to her whole naval apparatus, 
whether for war or trade, — when I bring before my 

) 1 



raw the number of her fortifications, constructed 
with so bold and masterly a skill, and made and 
mai .tained at so prodigious a charge, presenting an 
armed front and impenetrable barrier to her enemies 
upon every side,— when I recollect how very small a 
part of that extensive region is without cultivation, 
and to what complete perfection the culture of many 
of the best productions of the earth have been brought 
ia France, — when I reflect on the excellence of her 
manufactures and fabrics, second to none but ours, 
and in some particulars not second,- when I con- 
template the grand foundations o. charity, public and 
private,- when I survey the state of all the arts that 
beautify and polish life, — when I reckon the men 
she has bred for extending her fame in war, lier able 
statesmen, the multitude of her profound lawyers 
and theologians, her philosophers, her critics, her 
historians and antiquaries, her poets and her orators, 
sacred and profane, — I behold in all this somethmg 
which awes and commands the imagination, which 
checks the mind on the brink of precipitate and in- 
discriminate censure, and which demands that we 
should very seriously exami \e what and how great 
are the latent vices that could authorize us at once to 
level so spacious a fabric with the ground. I do not 
recognize in this view of things the despotism of Tur- 
key. Nor do I discern the character of a government 
that has been on the whole so oppressive, or so cor- 
rupt, or so negligent, as to be utterly unfit for all 
reformation. I must think such a government well 
deserved to have its excellences heightened, its faults 
corrected, and its capacities improved into a British 

Whoever has examined into the proceedings of that 






deposed government for several years back cannot 
fail to have observed, amidst the inconstancy and 
fluctuation natural to courts, an earnest endeavor to- 
wards the prospei'ity and improvement of the coun- 
try ; he must admit that it had long been employed, 
in some instances wholly to remove, in many consid- 
erably to correct, the abusive practices and usages 
that had prevailed in the state, — and that even the 
unlimited power of the sovereign over the persons of 
his subjects, inconsistent, as undoubtedly it was, with 
law and liberty, had yet been every day growing 
more mitigated in the exercise. So far from refus- 
ing itself to reformation, that government was open, 
with a censurable degree of facility, to all sorts of pro- 
jects and projectors on the subject. Rather too much 
countenance was given to the spirit of innovation, 
which soon was turned against those who fostered it, 
and ended in their ruin. It is but cold, and no very 
flattering justice to that fallen monarchy, to say, that, 
for many years, it trespassed more by levity and want 
of judgment in several of its schemes than from any 
defect in diligence or in public spirit. To compare 
the government of France for the last fifteen or six- 
teen years with wise and well-constituted establish- 
ments during that, or during any period, is not to act 
with fairness. But if in point of prodigality in the 
expenditure of money, or in point of rigor in the 
exercise of power, it be compared with any of the for- 
mer reigns, I believe candid judges will give little 
credit to the good intentions of those who dwell per- 
petually on the donations to favorites, or on the ex- 
penses of the court, or on the horrors of the Bastile, 
in the reign of Louis the Sixteenth.* 

* The world is obliged to M. do Calonue for the paius he has 

: j i! 




tiiii! It'-iii litf l^^ l^'-ipl'- 


















1 1 • 





m 'li 

Vi si' 


■h i|I 

^H :^ 

^ [' 

M! |.n 



Whether the system, if it deserves such a name, 
now built on the ruins of that ancient monarchy, 
will be able to give a better account of the population 
and wealth of the country which it has taken under 
its care, is a matter very doubtful. Instead of im- 
proving by the cliange, I apprehend that a long se- 
ries of years must bo told, before it can recover in 
any degree the effects of this philosophic Revolution, 
and before the nation can be replaced on its former 
footing. If Dr. Price should think fit, a few years 
hence, to favor us with an estimate of the population 
of France, ho will hardly bo able to make up his tale 
of thirty millions of souls, as computed in 1789, or 
the Assembly's computation of twenty-six millions of 
tiiat year, or even M. Necker's twenty-five millions 
in 1780. I hear that there are considerable emigra- 
tions from France, — and that many, quitting that 
voluptuous climate, and that seductive Circean lib- 
erty, have taken refuge in the frozen regions and 
under the British despotism of Canada. 

In the present disappearance of coin, no person 
could think it the same country in which the pres- 
ent minister of the finances has been able to discover 
fourscore millions sterling in specie. From its gen- 
eral aspect one 'vould conclude that it had been for 
some time past under the special direction of the 
learned academicians of Laputa and Balnibarbi.* 
Already the population of Paris has so declined, that 
M. Necker stated to the National Assembly the pro- 
taken to refute the scandalous exaggerations relative to some of the 
royal expenses, and to detect the fallacious account given of pensions, 
for the wicked purpose of provoking the populace to all sorts of 

• See Gulliver's Travels for the idea of countries governed by 





. 1 




urn-i "TiOHS ow ths 



\ fes 



vision to bo made l-'i if^ gubsisteuce at a fifth loss 
than wliat b id loriuoily >'»on found requisite* It 18 
said (and I bavo never licard it contradicted) that a 
hundred t1 'lusund people arc out of employment in 
tliat city, though it is become the seat of the impris- 
oned court and National Assembly. Nothing. I am 
credibly informed, can exceed the shocking and dis- 
gusting s ctacle of mendicancy displayed in tliat caJ^ 
ital. Indi ed, the votes of the National Assembly leave 
no doubt of the fact. They have lately a|.>poiuted a 
standing committee of mendicancy. Tliey are con- 
triving at once a vigorous police on this subject, and, 
for the first time, the imposition of a tax to maintain 
the poor, for whos'i present relief great sums appear 
on the face of the public accounts of the yoar.f In 
the mean time the leaders of the legislative clubs and 
cofTec-houses are intoxicated with admiration at their 
own wisdom and ability. They speak with tlie most 
sovereign contempt of the rest of tlie world. Tiioy 
tell the people, to comfort them in the rai;s with 
which they have clothed them, that they are a nation 
of philosophers; and sometimes, by all the arts of 

• M. de Calonne states the falling off of the population of Paris 
as far more considerable ; ana it may be so, mnco the period of M. 
Neckcr's calculation. 

t Travaux de charit^ pour sub- 
venir an manque dc travail Ik 
Paris et dii ^s provinces 
Destruction de vatiiondage et de la 
mendicity . . . . • 
Primi's pour I'mportation de grains 
D^penses relatives us subsistances, 
deduction fait des recouvrements 
qui ont eu lieu . 
Total . 




161,121 13 * 


9 2 

. 51,082, H 
When I sent this book to the press, I enter- ained some do 

1 61,324 11 8 

2,1.^S,41P 1 8 

: con- 



quackisli parade, by sho^ . tumul md busflo. somo- 
time^ by the alarms of i i.>* ai ivasioi uioy at- 
tempt to drown th^^ cries of uidiji nee, m- . to divert 
the eyes .>f the obs rver fn>ia the ruin aut> rctched- 
ii'^ss of tl».; state- -v brav • iHjopl.! will cen mly pre- 
fer accuiupauied wiili a virtuous poverty to 
a dopravcu am: wealthy servitude. But before the 
price of comfort and opulenco is paid, om; ought to 
be pretty sure it is real liberty which is purchased, 
aid that she i to be purchaMui at no other pn-c. I 
simll always liowever, consider that libe ty as very 
equivocal in l»er app.-aranc. which has i, t wi ?om 
and just oc for her companions, and does not lead 
prosperity and pleiu in her traiu. 

The advocates iov this R alution. not satisiHi. 
with exa-iirtirating tli vie ! their ancient govc a- 
inent, strike at the fame of their cou.try it-*4., by 
painting almost all that could have attru-cted ,t- 

teutioa of strangers, I mean their iiOwili a their 
clergy, as ccts ot ..orror. If this were '\v aliioi, 
there' liad a<.t been much in it. But it i .i--. i»ractical 
consequences. Had your ncbilit d gv ty. who 

turning the nature and extent of the last arti 
which is only under a general hoad, without y 
have --pn M. Jo Calonn»>'a work. I must tliink 
that 1 'ot that advantii-c earlier. M. de Cal 
cle to ou account of jjciie subsisteucc ; but a 
prebeud how so prcat a lo aa uj'wurdij of l,6< 
be sust ineU n t e difference bet^-ccn the nnce ami 
he 8ecu.> to attribute t ,s en mous hem; j!' charge .o »c 
of the Revolution. 1 cannot say .nytu.ll^' iKJsitivcly oi, that sub- 
ject. The ri- ider is capable of judg ng, by the aggregate of these 
immense charges, on the state and condition of France, and the sys- 
tem of public econr my adopted in that nation. These articles of 
account i liuced r inquiry or discussion in the National Assem- 

: a J. 

in .lie .ijove ac un'S 
' li tail. Sinci: lOeu I 
]nm to me 
. .c to com- 
Ring could 
ill .;rain, 
: expcuscii 



^' J) 

,11 ?-,L 









111 : !: 



■ ^1 ; ' 







formed the great body of your landed men and llio 
whole of your military officers, resembled those of 
Germany, at the period when the Hanse towns were 
necessitated to confederate against the nobles in de- 
fence of their property, — had they been like the Or- 
Bini and Vitelli in Italy, who used to sally from their 
fortified dens to rob the trader and traveller, — had 
they been such as the Mamelukes in Egypt, or the 
Nayres on the coast of Malabar, — I do admit that 
too critical an inquiry mght not be advisable into 
the means of freeing the world from such a nuisance. 
The statues of Equity and Mercy might be veiled 
for a moment. The tenderest minds, confounded 
with the dreadful exigence in which morality sub- 
mits to the suspension of its own rules in favor of its 
own principles, might turn aside whilst fraud and vi- 
olence were accomplishing the destruction of a pre- 
tended nobility, which disgraced, whilst it persecut- 
ed, human nature. The persons most abhorrent from 
blood and treason and arbitrary confiscation might 
remain silent spectators of this civil war between the 


But did the privileged nobility who met under the 
king's precept at Versailles in 1789, or their constit- 
uents, deserve to be looked on as the Nayres or 
Mamelukes of this age, or as the Orsini and Vitelli of 
ancient times? If I had then asked the question, I 
should have passed for a madman. What have they 
since done, that they were to be driven into exile, 
that their persons should be hunted about, mangled, 
and tortured, their families dispersed, their houses 
laid in ashes, and that their order should be abolish- 
ed, and the memory of it, if possible, extinguished, 
by ordaining them to change the very names by 




which they were usually known? Read their m- 
striictions to their representatives. They breathe 
the spirit of liberty as warmly, and they rcconimeud 
reformation as strongly, as any other order. Their 
privileges relative to contribution were voluntarily 
surrendered ; as the king, from the beginning, sur- 
rendered . U pretence to a right of taxation. Up- 
on a free constitution there was but one opinion in 
Prance. The absolute ! ouarchy was at an end. It 
breathed its last without a groan, without struggle, 
without convulsion. All the struggle, ail the dissen- 
sion, arose afterwards, upon the preference of a des- 
potic democracy to a government of reciprocal con- 
trol. The triumph of the victorious party was over 
the principles of a British Constitution. 

I have observed the affectation which for many 
years past has prevailed in Paris, even to a degree 
perfectly childish, of idolizing the memory of your 
Henry the Fourth. If anything could put any one 
out of humor with that ornament to the kingly char- 
acter, it would be this overdone style of insidious pan- 
egyric. The persons who have worked this engine 
the most busily are those who have ended their pane- 
gyrics in dethroning his successor and descendant: 
a man as good-natured, at the least, as Henry the 
Fourth ; altogether as fond of his people ; and who 
has done infinitely more to correct the ancient vices 
of the state than that groat monarch did, or we are 
sure he ever meant to do. Well it is for his panegyrists 
that they have not him to deal with ! For Henry of 
Navarre was a resolute, active, and politic prince. He 
possessed, indeed, great humanity and mildness, but an 
humanity and mildness that never stood in the way 
of his interests. He never sought to be loved with- 











out putting himself first in a condition to be feared. 
He used soft language with determined conduct. He 
asserted and maintained his authority in the gross, 
and distributed his acts of concession only in the de- 
tail. Ho spent the income of his prerogative nobly, 
but he took care not to break in i.pon the capital, — 
never abandoning for a moment any of the claims 
which he made under the fundamental laws, nor 
sparing to shed the blood of those who opposed him, 
often in the field, sometimes upon the scaffold. Be- 
cause he knew how to make his virtues respected by 
the ungra.-><"ul, he has merited the praises of those 
whom, if th. 7 had lived in his time, he would have 
shut up in the Bastile, and brought to punishment 
along with the regicides whom he hanged after he 
had famished Paris into a surrender. 

If these panegyrists are in earnest in their admira- 
tion of Henry the Fourth, they must remember that 
they cannot think more highly of him than he did of 
the noblesse of Prance, — whose virtue, honor, cour- 
age, patriotism, and loyalty were his constant theme. 
But the nobility of France are degenerated since the 
days of Henry the Fourth. —This is possible ; but it 
is more than I can believe to be true in any great de- 
gree. I do not pretend to know France as correctly 
as some others ; but I have endeavored through my 
whole life to make myself acquainted with human 
nature,— otherwise I should be unfit to take even my 
humble part in the service of mankind. In that study 
I could not pass by a vast portion of our nature as 
it appeared modified in a country but twenty-four 
miles from the shore of this island. On my best ob- 
servation, compared with my best inquiries, I found 
your nobility for the greater part composed of men 

1. 1 




of a high spirit, and of a delicate sense of honor, both 
with regard to themselves individually, and with re- 
gard to their whole corps, over whom they kept, be- 
yond what is common in other countries, a censorial 
eye. They were tolerably well bred ; very officious, 
humane, and hospitable ; in their conversation frank 
and open ; with a good military tone ; and reasonably 
tinctured with literature, particularly of the authors 
in their own language. Many had pretensions far 
above this description. I speak of those who were 
generally met with. 

As to their behavior to the inferior classes, they 
appeared to me to comport themselves towards them 
with good-nature, and with something more near- 
ly approaching to familiarity than is generally prac- 
tised with us in the intercourse between the higher 
and lower ranks of life. To strike any person, even 
in the most abject condition, was a thing in a manner 
unknown, and would be highly disgraceful. Instan- 
ces of other ill-treatment of the humble part of the 
community wore rare ; and as to attacks made upon 
the property or the personal liberty of the commons, 
I never heard of any whatsoever from iheniy — nor, 
whilst the laws were in vigor under the ancient gov- 
ernment, would such tyranny in subjects have been 
permitted. As men of landed estates, I had no fault 
to find with their conduct, though much to repre- 
hend, and much to wish changed, in many of the 
old tenures. Where tlie letting of their land was 
by rent, I could not discover that their agreements 
with their farmers were oppressive; nor when they 
were in partnership with the farmer, as often was 
the case, have I heard that they had taken the 
lion's share. The proportions seemed not inequi- 






1 1^^ 

table. There might be exceptions-, but certainly 
they were exceptions only. I have no reason to be- 
lieve that in these respects the landed noblesse of 
France were worse than the landed gentry of this 
country, — certainly in no respect more vexatious 
than the landholders, not noble, of their own nation. 
In cities the nobility had no manner of power ; in the 
country very little. You know. Sir, that much of 
the civil government, and the police in the most es- 
sential parts, was not in the hands of that nobility 
which presents itself first to our consideration. The 
revenue, the system and collection of which wore the 
most grievous parts of the French government, was 
not administered by the men of the sword ; nor were 
they answerable for the vices of its principle, or the 
vexations, where any such existed, in its manage- 

Denying, as I am well warranted to do, that the 
nobility had any considerable share in the oppression 
of the people, in cases in which real oppression exist- 
ed, I am ready to admit that they were not without 
considerable faults and errors. A foolish imitation 
of the worst part of the manners of England, which 
impaired their natural character, without substituting 
in its place what perhaps they meant to copy, has cer- 
tainly rendered them worse than formerly they were. 
Habitual dissoluteness of manners, continued beyond 
the pardonable period of life, was more common 
amongst them than it is with us ; and it reigned with 
the less hope of remedy, though possibly with some- 
thing of less mischief, by being covered with more ex- 
terior decorum. They countenanced too much that 
licentious philosophy which has helped to bring on 
their ruin. ITiere was another error amongst them 



more fatal. Those of the commons who approached 
to or exceeded many of the nobility in point of wealth 
were not fully admitted to the rank and estimation 
which wealth, in reason and good policy, ought to be- 
stow in every country, — though I think not equally 
with that of other nobility. The two kinds of aris 
tocracy were too punctiliously kept asunder : less so, 
however, than in Germany and some other nations. 

This separation, as I have already taken the liberty 
of suggesting to you, I conceive to be one principal 
cause of the destruction of the old nobility. The 
military, particularly, was too exclusively reserved 
for men of family. But, after all, this was an error 
of opinion, which a conflicting opinion would have 
rectified. A permanent Assembly, in which the com- 
mons had their share of power, would soon abolish 
whatever was too invidious and insulting in these 
distinctions; and even the faults in the morals of 
the nobility would have been probably corrected, by 
the greater varieties of occupation and pursuit to 
which a constitution by orders would have given 


All this violent cry against the nobility I take to be 
a mere work of art. To be honored and even privi- 
leged by the laws, opinions, and inveterate usages of 
our country, growing out of the prejudice of ages, has 
notliing to provoke horror and indignation in any man. 
Even to be too tenacious of Jiose privileges is not ab- 
solutely a crime. The strong struggle in every indi- 
vidual to preserve possession of what lie has found to 
belong to him, and to distinguish him, is one of the 
securities against injustice and despotism implanted 
in our nature. It operates as an instinct to secure 
property, and to preserve communities in a settled 






State. What is there to shock in this ? Nobility is a 
graceful ornament to the civil order. It is the Co- 
rinthian capital of polished society. " Omnes honi no- 
hilitati semper favemus" was the saying of a wise and 
good man. It is, indeed, one sign of a liberal and 
benevolent mind to incline to it with some sort of 
partial propensity. He feels no ennobling principle 
in his own heart, who wishes to level all the artificial 
institutions which have been adopted for giving a body 
to opinion and permanence to fugitive esteem. It is 
a sour, malignant, envious disposition, without taste 
for the reality, or for any image or representation of 
virtue, that sees with joy the unmerited fall of what 
had long flourished in splendor and in honor. I do 
not like to see anything destroyed, any void pro- 
duced in society, any ruin on the face of the land. 
It was therefore with no disappointment or dissatis- 
faction that my inquiries and observations did not 
present to me any incorrigible vices in the noblesse 
of France, or any abuse which could not be removed 
by a reform very short of abolition. Your noblesse 
did not deserve punishment ; but to degrade is to 


It was with the same satisfaction I found that the 
result of my inquiry concerning your clergy was not 
dissimilar. It is no soothing news to my ears, that 
great bodies of men are incurably corrupt. It is not 
with much credulity I listen to any, when they speak 
evil of those whom they are going to plunder. I 
rather suspect that vices arc feigned or exaggerated, 
when profit is looked for in their punishment. An 
enemy is a bad witness ; a robber is a worse. Vices 
and abuses there were undoubtedly in that order, 
and must be. It was an old establishment, and not 



frequently revised. But I saw no crimes in the indi- 
viduals that merited confiscation of their substance, 
nor those cruel insults and degradations, and that 
unnatural persecution, which have been substituted 
in the place of meliorating regulation. 

If there had been any just caiise for this new re- 
ligious persecution, the atheistic libellers, who act as 
trumpeters to animate the populace to plunder, do 
not love anybody so much as not to dwell with com- 
placence on the vices of the existing clergy. This 
they have not done. They find themselves obliged 
to rake into the histories of former ages (which they 
have ransacked with a malignant and profligate in- 
dustry) for every instance of oppression and persecu- 
tion which has been made by that body or in its favor, 
in order to justify, upon very iniquitous because very 
illogical principles of retaliation, their own persecu- 
tions and their own cruelties. After destroying all 
other genealogies and family distinctions, they invent 
a sort of pedigree of crimes. It is not very just to 
chastise men for the offences of their natural ances- 
tors ; but to take the fiction of ancestry in a corporate 
succession, as a ground for punishing men who have 
no relation to guilty acts, except in names and gen- 
eral descriptions, is a sort of refinement in injustice 
belonging to the philosophy of this enlightened age. 
The Assembly punishes men, many, if not most, of 
whom abhor the violent conduct of ecclesiastics in 
former times as much as their present persecutors 
can do, and who would be as loud and as strong in 
the expression of that sense, if they were not well 
awai-e of the purposes for which all this declamation 
is employed. 

Corporate bodies are immortal for the good of the 



I ''I 




members, but not for their punishment. Nations 
themselves are such corporations. As well might we 
in England think of waging inexpiable war upon all 
Frenchmen for the evils which they have brought 
upon us in the several periods of our mutual hostili- 
ties. You might, on your part, think yourselves jus- 
tified in falling upon all Englishmen on account of 
the unparalleled calamities brought upon the people 
of France by the unjust invasions of our Henrys and 
our Edwards. Indeed, we should be mutually justi- 
fied in this exterminatory war upon each other, full 
as much as you are in the unprovoked persecution of 
your present countrymen, on account of the conduct 
of men of the same name in other times. 

We do not draw the moral lessons we might from 
history. On the contrary, without care it may bo 
used to vitiate our minds and to destroy our happi- 
ness. In history a great volume is unrolled for our 
instruction, drawing the materi, iti of future wisdom 
from the past errors and infirmities of mankind. It 
may, in the perversion, serve for a magazine, furnish- 
ing offensive and defensive weapons for parties in 
Church and State, and supplying the means of keep- 
ing alive or reviving dissensions and animosities, and 
adding fuel to civil fury. History consists, for the 
greater part, of the miseries brought upon the world 
by pride, ambition, avarice, revenge, lust, sedition, 
hypocrisy, ungovcrned zeal, and all the train of disor- 
derly appetites, which shake the public with the same 

" troublous storms that toss 
The private state, and render life unsweet." 

These vices are the causes of those storms. Religion, 
morals, laws, prerogatives, privileges, liberties, rights 
of men, are the pretexts. The pretexts are always 



found in some specious appearance of a real good. 
You would not secure men from tyranny and sedi- 
tion by rooting oiit of the mind the principles to 
whici. these fraudulent pretexts apply ? If you did, 
you would root out everything that is valuable in the 
human breast. As these are tlic pretexts, so the or- 
dinary actors and instruments in great public evils 
are kings, priests, magistrates, senates, parliaments, 
national assemblies, judges, and captains. You would 
not cure tiie evil by resolving that there should be 
no more monarclis, nor ministers of state, nor of the 
Gospel, — no interpreters of law, no general officers, 
no public councils. You might cliange the names : 
thu things in some shape must remain. A certain 
quantum of power must always exist in the com- 
munity, in some hands, and under some appellation. 
Wise men will apply their remedies to vices, not to 
names, — to the causes of evil, which are permanent, 
not to the occasional organs by which they act, and 
the transitory modes in which they appear. Other- 
wise you will be wise historically, a fool in practice. 
Seldom have two ages the same fashion in their pre- 
texts, and the same modes of mischief. Wickedness 
is a little more inventive. Whilst yon are discussing 
fashion, the fashion is gone by. The very same vice 
assumes a new body. The spirit transmigrates ; and, 
far from losing its principle of life by the change of 
its appearance, it is renovated in its new organs with 
the fresh vigor of a juvenile activity. It walks abroad, 
it continues its ravages, whilst you are gibbeting the 
carcass or demolisliing the tomb. You are terrify- 
ing yourselves witli ghosts and apparitions, whilst 
your house is the haunt of robbers. It is thus with 
all those who, attending only to the shell and luisk 



„i^^- ' *-^ ,!■ ■ Mil l 



of history, think they are waging war with intoler- 
ance, pride, and cruelty, whilst, under color of abhor- 
ring the ill priucples of antiquated parties, they are 
authorizing and feeding the same odious vices in dif- 
ferent factions, and perhaps in worse. 

Your citizens of Paris formerly had lent them- 
selves as the ready instruments to slaughter the fol- 
lowers of Calvin, at the infamous massacre of St. 
Bartholomew. What should we say to those who 
could think of retaliating on the Parisians of this day 
the abominations and horrors of that time? They are, 
indeed, brought to abhor that massacre. Ferocious as 
they are, it is not difficult to make them dislike it, 
because the politicians and fashionable teachers have 
no interest in giving their passions exactly the same 
direction. Still, however, they find it their interest to 
keep the same savage dispositions alive. It was but 
the other day that they caused this very massacre to 
bo acted on the stage for the diversion of the descend- 
ants of those who committed it. In this tragic farce 
they produced the Cardinal of Lorraine in his robes 
of function, ordering general slaughter. Was this 
spectacle intended to make the Parisians abhor per- 
secution and loathe the effusion of blood ? No : it 
was to teach them to persecute their own pastors ; it 
was to excite them, by raising a disgust and horror 
of their clergy, to an alacrity in hunting down to de- 
struction an order which, if it ought to exist at all, 
ought to exist not only in safety, but in reverence. 
It was to stimulate their cannibal appetites (which 
one would thmk had been gorged sufficiently) by 
variety and seasoning,— and to quicken them to an 
alertness in new murders and massacres, if it should 
suit the purpose of the Guises of the day. An As- 


f r 

BEVor-cnoN in fbance. 


eembly in which sat a multitude of priests and pre- 
lates was obliged to suffer this indignity at its door. 
Tlie author was not sent to the galleys, nor the play- 
ers to the ho' >e of correction. Not long after this 
exhibition, the j players came forward to the Assem- 
bly to claim the rites of that very religion wliich they 
had dared to expose, and to show their prostituted 
faces in the senate, whilst the Archbisliop of Paris, 
whose ftinction was Icnowu to his people only by his 
prayers and benedictions, and his wealth only by 
alms, is forced to abandon his house, and to fly from 
his floclc, (as from ravenous wolves,) because, truly, 
in the sixteenth century, the Cardinal of Lorraine 
was a rebel and a murderer.* 

Such is the effect of the perversion of history by 
those who, for the same nefarious purposes, have 
perverted every other part of learning. But those 
•who will stand upon that elevation of reason which 
places centuries under our eye and brings things to 
the true point of comparison, which obscures little 
names and effaces the colors of little parties, and to 
which nothing can ascend but the spirit and moral 
quality of human actions, will say to the teachers 
of the Palais Royal, — The Cardinal of Lorraine was 
the murderer of the sixteenth century ; you have tho 
glory of being the murderers in the eighteenth ; and 
this is the only difference between you. But histo- 
ry in the nineteenth century, better understood and 
better employed, will, I trust, teach a civilized pos- 
terity to abhor the misdeeds of both these barbarous 
ages. It will teach future priests and magistrates 
not to retaliate upon the speculative and inactive 

• This is on a supposition of the truth of this story ; but he was 
not in France at the time. One name series as well as another. 







atheists of future times the enormities committed by 
the present practical zealots and furious fanatics of 
tliat wretched error, which, in its quiescent state, is 
more than punished, whenever it is embraced. It 
will teach posterity not to make war upon either 
religion or philosophy for the abuse which the hypo- 
crites of both have made of the two most valuable 
blessings conferred upon us by the bounty of tlio uni- 
versal Patron, wiio in all things eminently favors and 
protects the race of man. 

If your clergy, or any clergy, should show them- 
selves vicious beyond tlie fair bounds allowed to hu- 
man infirmity, and to those professional faults which 
can hardly be separated from professio; ■ irtues, 
though their vices never can counteuanc) the exer- 
cise of oppression, I do admit that they would natu- 
rally have the efiFect of abating very much of our in- 
dignation against the tyrants who exceed measure 
and justice in their punishment. I can allow in cler- 
gymen, through all their divisions, some tenacious- 
ness of their own opinion, some overflowings of zeal 
for its propagation, some predilection to their own 
state and office, some attachment to the interest of 
their owii (^orps, some preference to those who lis- 
ten with docility to their doctrines beyond those who 
scorn and deride them. I allow all this, because 
I am a man who have to deal witli men, and who 
would not, through a violence of toleration, run in- 
to the greatest of all intolerance. I must bear with 
infirmities, until they fester into crimes. 

Undoubtedly, the natural progress of the passions, 
from frailty to vice, ought to be prevented by a 
watchful eye and a firm hand. But is it true that 
the body of your clergy had passed those limits of a 



just allowanoo? From the general ^rylo of your late 
publications of all sorts, one would bo hd to believe 
that your clergy in France Aorts a sort of laonstoib ; 
an horrible composition of -iporstition, ignorance, 
sloth, fraud, avarice, and t) . am.y. ''.nt i i ' is true ? 
Is it true that the lapse of time, the .'ssatijn of con- 
flicting int'^rests, the woful experu i, ■ of th>: evils 
resulting from parly rage, havo had im sort ot" jiflu- 
. nee gi-adually to meliorate their minds? Is it true 
thai they were daily renewing invasions on iho civil 
power, troubling th. domestic < uiet of their country, 
and rendering the operations of its gov. rnment fee- 
ble and precarious ? Is it true that the clergy of our 
times have pressed down the lait,, with an iron hand, 
and were in all places lighting up the fires of a 
savage persecution? Did they by every fraud en- 
deavor to increase their estates? Did they use to 
exceed the due demands on estates that wore their 
own ? Or, rigidly screwing up rif,'ht into wrong, did 
they convert a legal claim into ji vexatious extor- 
tion ? When not possessed of power, were tliey filled 
with the vices of those who envy it? Were llicy 
inflamed with a violent, litigious spirit of contro- 
vei -y ? Goaded on with the ambition of intellectual 
sovereignty, were they ready to fly in th*' face of all 
magistracy lo fire churches, to massacre the priests 
of other descriptions, to pull down altars, and to 
make their way over the ruins of subverted govern- 
ments to an empire of doctrine, sometimes flattering, 
sometimes forcing, the consciences of men from the 
jurisdiction of public .istitutions into a submission 
to their personal autliority, beginning witii a claim 
of liberty and ending with an abuse of power ? 

These, or some of these, were the vices objected, 




and not wholly without foundation, to several of the 
churchmen of former times, who belonged to the two 
great parties which then divided and distracted Eu- 

If there was in France, as in other countries there 
visibly is, a great abatement, rather than any in- 
crease of these vices, instead of loading the present 
clergy with the crimes of other men and the odious 
character of other times, in common equity they 
ought to be praised, encouraged, and supported, in 
their departure from a spirit which disgraced their 
predecessors, and for having assumed a temper of 
mind and manners more suitable to their sacred 

When my occasions took me into France, towards 
the close of the late reign, the clergy, under all their 
forms, engaged a considerable part of my curiosity. 
So far from finding (except from one set of men, not 
then very numerous, though very active) the com- 
plaints and discontents against t'.iat body which some 
publications had given me reason to expect, I perceiv- 
ed little or no public or private uneasiness on their 
account. On further examination, I found the cler- 
gy, in general, persons of moderate minds and deco- 
rous manners : I include the seculars, and the regu- 
lars of both sexes. I had not the good fortune to 
know a great many of the parochial clergy : but in 
general I received a perfectly good account of their 
morals, and of their attention to their duties. With 
some of the higher clergy 1 had a personal acquaint- 
ance, and of the rest in that class a very good means 
of information. They were almost all of them per- 
sons of noble birth. They resembled others of their 
own rank ; and where there was any difference, it was 



in their favor. They wore more fully educated thaa 
the military noblesse,— so as by no means to disgrace 
their profession by ignorance, or by want of fitness for 
the exercise of their authority. They seemed to me, 
beyond the clerical character, liberal and open, with 
the hearts of gentlemen and men of honor, neither 
insolent nor servile in their manners and conduct. 
They seemed to me rather a superior class, — a set of 
men amongst whom you would not be surprised to 
find a Fdnelon. I saw among the clergy in Paris 
(many of the description are not to be met with any- 
where) men of great learning and candor ; and I had 
reason to believe that this description was not confined 
to Paris. What 1 found in other places I know was 
accidental, and therefore to be presumed a fair sam- 
ple. 1 spent a few days in a provincial town, where, 
in the absence of the bishop, I passed my evenings 
with three clergymen, his vicars-general, persons who 
would have done honor to any church. They were 
all well-informed ; two of them of deep, general, and 
extensive erudition, ancient and modern, Oriental and 
Western,— particularly in their own profession. They 
had a more extensive knowledge of our English di- 
vines than I expected; and they entered into the 
genius of those writers with a critical accuracy. One 
of these gentlemen is since dead : the Abb<< Morangio. 
I pay this tribute without reluctance to the memory 
of that noble, reverend, learned, and excellent per- 
son; and I should do the same with equal cheerful- 
ness to the merits of the others, who I believe are 
still living, if I did not fear to hurt those whom I am 
unable to serve. 

Some of these ecclesiastics of rank are, by all 
titles, persons deserving of general respect. They 

. ' 





/ H 



-■■L. I I ,LI 1 




are deserving of gratitude from me, and from many 
English. If this letter should ever come into the!*' 
hands, I hope they will believe there are those of our 
nation who feel for their unmerited fall, and for the 
cruel confiscation of their fortunes, with no common 
sensibility. What I say of them is a testimony, as 
far as one feeble voice can go, which I owe to truth. 
Whenever the question of this unnatural persecution 
is concerned, I will pay it. No one shall prevent me 
from being just and grateful. The time is fitted for 
the duty; and it is particularly becoming to show 
our justice and gratitude, when those who have 
deserved well of us and of mankind are laboring 
under popular obloquy and the persecutions of op- 
pressive power. 

You had before your Revolution about a hundred 
and twenty bishops. A few of them were men of 
eminent sanctity, and charity without limit. When 
we talk of the lieroic, of course we talk of rare virtue. 
I believe the instances of eminent depravity may be 
as rare amongst them as those of transcendent good- 
ness. Examples of avarice and of licentiousness may 
be picked out, I do not question it, by those who 
delight in the investigation which leads to sucii dis- 
coveries. A man as old as I am will not be aston- 
ished that several, in every description, do not lead 
that perfect life of self-denial, with regard to wealth 
or to pleasure, whioh is wished for by all, by some 
expected, but by none exacted with more rigor than 
by those wiio are the most attc.tive to their own hi- 
tercsts or the most indulgent to their own passions. 
When 1 was in France, I am certain that the number 
of vicious prelates was not great. Certain individuals 
among them, not distinguishable for the regularity of 



their lives, made some amends for tlioir waiit of the 
severe virtues in their possession of the liberal, and 
vere endowed witli qualities whicli made tliem useful 
in the Church and State. I am told, that, witli few 
exceptions, Louis tlie Sixteenth liud been mox-e atten- 
tive to character, in his promotions to that rank, than 
his immediate predecessor; and I believe (.as some 
spirit of reform has prevailed through the wliole 
reign) that it may be true. But tlie present ruling 
power has shown a disposition only to plunder the 
Churcli. It lias punished all prelates: whicli is to 
favor the vicious, at least in point of reputation. It 
has made a degrading pensionary establisliment, to 
which no man of liberal ideas or liljeral condition 
will destine his children. It must settle into the 
lowest classes of the people. As with you the infe- 
rior clergy are not numerous enough for their duties, 
as tliese duties ai-e beyond measure minute and toil- 
some, as you have left no middle clas&es of clergy at 
their ease, hi future nothing of science or erudition 
can exist hi the Gallican Church. To complete the 
project, without the least attention to the rights of 
patrons, the Assembly has provided in future an elec- 
tive clergy : au arrangement which will drive out of 
the clerical profession all men of sobriety, all who 
can pretend to independence in thou- functiou or 
their conduct, — and which will throw the whole di- 
rection of the public muid into the liaiids of a set of 
licentious, bold, crafty, factious, liattering wretches, 
of such condition and such habits of life as will make 
their contemptible pensions Qin comparison of which 
the stipend of an exciseman is lucrative and honora- 
ble) an object of low and illiberal intrigue. Those 
officers whom they still call bishops aio to be elected 


, ,1 






to a provision comparatively mean, througb the same 
ai-ts, (that is, electioneering arts,) by men of all re- 
ligious tenets that are known or can be invented. 
The new lawgivers have not ascertained anytliiug 
whatsoever concerning their qualifications, relative 
either to doctrine or to morals, no more than they 
have done with regard to the subordinate clergy ; nor 
does it appear but that both the higher and the lower 
may, at their discretion, practise or preach any mode 
of religion or irreligion that they please. I do not 
yet see what the jurisdiction of bishops over their 
subordinates is to be, or whether they are to have 
any jurisdiction at all. 

In short, Sir, it seems to me that this new ecclesi- 
astical establishment is intended only to be tempora- 
ry, and preparatory to the utter abolition, under any 
of its forms, of the Christian religion, whenever the 
minds of men are prepared for this last stroke against 
it by the accomplishment of the plan for bringing its 
ministers into universal contempt. They who will 
not believe that the philosophical fanatics who guide 
in these matters have long entertained such a design 
are utterly ignorant of tlieir character and proceed- 
ings. These enthusiasts do not scruple to avow their 
opinion, that a state can subsist without any religion 
better than with one, and that they are able to sup- 
ply the place of any good which may be in it by a 
project of their own, — namely, by a sort of education 
they have imagined, founded in a knowledge of the 
physical wants of men, progressively carried to an 
enlightenod self-interest, which, when well under- 
stood, thi y tell us, will idontifj- with an interest 
more enlarged and public. The scheme of this edu- 
cation has been long known. Of late they distin- 




cmish it (as they have got an entirely new nomen- 
clature of technical terms) by the name of o tivie 

Education. , 

I hope their partisans in England (to whom l 
rather attribute very inconsiderate conduct than the 
ultimate object in this detestable design) will succeed 
neither in the pillage of the ecclesiastics nor m the 
introduction of a principle of popular election to our 
bishoprics and parochial cures. This, in the present 
condition of the world, would be the last corruption 
of the Church, the utter ruin of the clerical char- 
acter, the most dangerous shock tliat the state ever 
received through a misunderstood arrangement ot 
religion. I know well enough that the bishoprics 
and cures, under kinglv and seigniorial patronage, as 
now they are in England, and as they have been 
lately in France, are sometimes acquired by un- 
worthy methods; but the other mode of ccclesias- 
tical canvass subjects them infinitely more surely 
and more generally to all the evil arts of low am- 
bition, which, operating on and through greater num- 
bers, will produce mischief in proportion. 

Those of you who have robbed the clergy think 

that they shall easily reconcile their conduct to all 

Protestant nations, because the clergy whom they 

have thus plundered, degraded, and given over to 

mockery and scorn, are of the Roman Catholic, 

that is, of their own pretended persuasion. I have 

no doubt that some miserable bigots will be found 

here as well as elsewhere, who hate sects and parties 

different from their own more than they love the 

substance of religion, and who are more angry with 

those who differ from them in their particular plans 

and systems than displeased with those who attack 



■ If 




y .yvyaBT i-»eT' w". t." ' i r'TVTsrr ijes ^tr-r-z-^-rjn 




the foundation of our common hope. Tliese men 
will write and speak on the subject in tlie maimer 
that is to be expected from their temper and char- 
acter. Burnet says, that, when ho was in France, 
in the year 1683, "the method which carried over 
the men of the finest parts to Popery was tliis : they 
brought themselves to doubt of the whole Christian 
religion : when that was once done, it seemed a 
more indifferent thing of what side or form they 
continued outwardly." If this was then the eccle- 
siastic policy of France, it is what they have since 
but too much reason to repent of. They preferred 
atheism to ; form of religion not agreeable to their 
ideas. They succeeded in destroying that form ; and 
atheism has succeeded in destroying them. I can 
readily give credit to Burnet's story ; because I have 
observed too much of a similar spirit (for a little of 
it is " much too much ") amongst ourselves. The 
humor, however, is not general. 

The teachers who reformed our religion in England 
bore no sort of resemblance to your present rofoim- 
iiig doctors in Paris. Perhaps they were (like those 
whom they opposed) rather more than could be 
wished under the influence of a party spirit ; but 
they were most sincere believers ; men of the most 
fervent and exalted piety ; ready to die (as some of 
them did die) like true heroes in defence of their 
particular ideas of Christianity, — as they would with 
equal fortitude, and more cheerfully, for that stock 
of general truth for the branches of which tliey con- 
tended with their blood. These men would liave 
disavowed with horror those wretches wlio claimed 
a fellowship with them upon no other titles tliau 
those of their having pillaged tlie persons with whom 


'•»:»*:»■ sjiikfii 



they maintained controversies, and their having de- 
spised the common religion, for the purity of which 
they exerted themselves with a zeal which unequiv- 
ocally bespoke their highest reverence for the sub- 
stance of that system which they wished to reform. 
Many of their descendants have retained the same 
zeal, but (as less engaged in conflict) with more mod- 
eration. They do not forget that justice and mercy 
arc substantial parts of religion. Impious men do 
not recommend themselves to their communion by 
ini(iuity and cruelty towards any description of their 

We hear these new teachers continually boasting 
of their spirit of toleration. That those persons 
should tolerate all opinions, who think none to be 
of estimation, is a matter of small merit. Equal 
neglect is not impartial kindness. The species of 
benevolence which arises from contempt is no true 
charity. There are in England abundance of men 
who tolerate in the true spirit of toleration. They 
think the dogmas of religion, though in different de- 
grees, are all of moment, and that amongst them 
tliere is, as amongst all things of value, a just ground 
of preference. Tliey favor, therefore, and they toler- 
ate. They tolerate, not because they despise opin- 
ions, but because they resi)ect justice. They would 
reverently and affectionately protect all religions, be- 
cause they love and venerate the great principle up- 
on which they all agree, and the great object to which 
they are all directed. They begin more and more 
plainly to discern that we have all a common cause, 
as against a common enemy. They will not be so 
misled by tlie spirit of faction as not to distingtiish 
what is done in favor of their subdivision from those 

' ii 






h w 

i >) 



acts of hostility which, through some particular do- 
scription, are aimed at the whole corps in which 
they themselves, under another denomination, are 
included. It is impossible for me to say wliat may 
be the character of every description of men amongst 
us. But I speak for the greater part ; and for them, 
I must tell you, that sacrilege is no part of their doc- 
trine of good works ; that, so far from calling you 
into their fellowship on such title, if your professors 
are admitted to their communion, they must care- 
fully conceal their doctrine of the lawfulness of the 
proscription of innocent men, and that tliey must 
make restitution of all stolen goods whatsoever. Till 
then they are none of ours. 

You may suppose that we do not approve your con- 
fiscation of the revenues of bishops, and deans, and 
chapters, and parochial clergy possessing independent 
estates arising from land, because we have the same 
sort of establishment xn England. Tliat objection, 
you will say, cannot hold as to tlio confiscation of the 
goods of monks and nuns, and the abolition of their 
order. It is true that this particular part of your 
general confiscation does not affect England, uis a 
precei'ent in point; but the reason applies, and it 
goes a groat way. The Long Parliament confiscated 
the lands of deans and chapters in England on {>io 
same ideas upon which your Assembly set to sale the 
lands of the monastic orders. But it is in the prin- 
ciple of injustice that the danger lies, and not in the 
description of persons on wliom it is first exercised. 
I see, in a country very near us, a course of policy 
j.ursued, which sets justice, the common concern of 
mankind, at defiance. With the National Assembly 
c France possession is nothing, law and usage are 







nothing. 1 sec the National Assembly opoulj repro- 
bate the doctrine of prescription, which one of the 
greatest of their own lawyers* tells \is, with great 
truth, is a part of the law of Nature. Ho tells U8 
that the positive ascertainment of its limits, and its 
security from invasion, wore amoiij,' the causes for 
which civil society itself has been instituted. If pro- 
scription be once shaken, no species of property is se- 
cure, when it once becomes an object large oiiougli to 
tempt the cupidity of indigent power. I sec a practice 
perfectly correspondent to their contempt of this great 
fundamental part of natural law. I sec tlie confisca- 
tors begin witli bishops, and chapters, and monaste- 
ries; but I do not see them end there. 1 soe the 
princes of the blood, who, by the oldest usages of 
that kingdom, held large landed estates, (hardly with 
the compliment of a debate,) deprived of their jk)&- 
sessions, and, in lieu of their stable, independent 
property, reduced to the hope of some precarious 
charitable pension at the pleasure of an Assembly, 
which of course will pay little regard to the riglits of 
pensioners at pleasure, when it despises those of I'sgal 
proprietors. Flushed with the insolence of their ilrst 
inglorious victories, and pressed by the distresses 
caused by their lust of unhallowed lucre, disappoint- 
ed, but not discouraged, they have at length ventured 
completely to subvert all property of all dcsciiptions 
throughout the extent of a great kingdom. Tliey 
have compelled all men, in all transactions of com- 
merce, in tlie disposal of lands, in cml dealing, and 
through the whole communion of life, to accept, as 
perfect payment and good and lawful tender, the 
symbols of tlieir speculations on a projected sale of 

* Domat. 

! » I 

! t 


r> - IS 

vol.. III. 








tbeir plunder. What vestiges of liberty or property 
have they loft? The teiiant-rij,'ht of a cabbage-gar- 
den, a year's interest iu a hovel, the good-will of an 
ale-house or a baker's shop, the very shadow of a con- 
structivo property, arc more ceremoniously treated 
in our Parliament than with you the oldest and most 
valuable landed possessions, in the hands of the most 
respectaljle personages, or than the whole body of the 
moneyed and commercial interest of your country. 
Wo entertain a high opinion of the legislative au- 
thority ; but we have never dreamt that Parliaments 
had any right whatever to violate property, to over- 
i-ule prescription, or to force a currency of their own 
fiction in the place of tliat which is real, and recog- 
nized by the law of nations. But you, who began 
with refusing to submit to the most moderate re- 
straints, have onlcd by establishing an unheard-of 
desiK)tism. I find the ground upon which your con- 
fiscators go is this : that, indeed, their proceedings 
could not be supported in a court of justice, out 
that the rub's of prescription cannot bind a legisla- 
tive assembly.* So that this legislative assembly of 
a free nation sits, not for the security, but for the de- 
struction of property, -and not of property only, but 
of every rule and maxim which can invo it stability, 
and of those instruments which can uione give it cir- 
culation. . 

When the Anabaptists of Munster, in the ?-.teenth 
century, had filled Germany with confusion, by their 
system of levelling, and their wild opinions conccrn- 
in^r property, to what country in Europe did not the 
progress of their fury furnish just cause of alarm? 
» Speech of M. Camus, pubUsLed by order of the National As- 

i f 





Of all things, wisdom is the most terrified with epi- 
demical fanaticism, bocan? J of all enemies it is that 
against which she is the least able to furnish any kind 
of resource. We cannot bo ignorant of the spirit of 
atheistical fanaticism, that is inspired by a multitude 
of writings disiwrsed with incredible assiduity and 
expense, and by sermons delivered in all the streets 
and places of public resort in Paris. Tliose writings 
and sermons have filled the populace witli a black 
and savage atrocity of mind, which supersedes in them 
the common feelings of Nature, as well as all senti- 
ments of morality and religion ; insoraiich tliat these 
wretches are induced to bear with a sullen patience 
the intolerable distresses brought upon tliem l)y the 
violent convulsions and permutations that have been 
made in property.* The spirit of proselytism attends 
this spirit of fanaticism. They have societies to cabal 
and correspond at home and abroad for the propagar 
tion of their tenets. The republic of Berne, one of 
the happiest, tlie most prosperous, and the best-gov- 
erned countries ui)on earth, is one of the great objects 
at tlie destruction of whicli they aim. I am told they 
have iu some measure succeeded in sowing there the 

• Whether the following description is strictly true I know not ; 
but it is what the publishers would have pass for true, in order to 
aniTiiiite others. In a letter from Toul, Riven in one of their papers, 
is the following passage concernirj? the people of that district. — 
<• I>ans la Revolution actuelle, ils ont re'sistd k toutes les s^diurtions da 
bigotisme, aax persecutions et aux tracasseries des enncrais de la Ke'volu- 
tion. Oiibliant leurs plus grands intents pour rendre hommage nux 
vuL's d'ordre g^ne'ral qui ont ie'tcrmin^ I'Assembl^e Nationale, ils 
voient, sans se phiindre, supprinrcr cette foule d'fftablissemens cccle'si 
astiqnos par lesquels ils subsi.toient ; ct rafirae, en pcrdant Icur sifcge 
dpiscopal, la seule de touics .es ressources qui pouvoit, ou platot qui 
devoit, en toute equity, lear gtre conserv^e, condamn^s a la plus effra 



I ' 


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^^ I6S] East Moin Strot 

B'.S Rochestar, N<« York 14609 US* 

^S (716) 482 -0300 - PhOM 

8888 (716) 288 - 5989 - Fan 




F' ' 


seeds of discontent. They are busy throughout Ger- 
many. Spain and Italy have not been untried. Eng- 
land is not left out of the comprehensive scheme of 
their malignant charity: and in England we find 
those who stretch out their arms to them, who rec^ 
ommend their example from more than one pulpit, 
and who choose, in more than one periodical meeting, 
publicly to correspond with them, to applaud them, 
and to hold them up as objects for imitation ; who 
receive from them tokens of confraternity, and stand- 
ards consecrated amidst their rites and mysteries ; * 
who suggest to them leagues of perpetual amity, at 
the very time when the power to which our Consti- 
tution has exclusively delegated the federative capa- 
city of this kingdom may find it expedient to make 
war upon them. 

It is not the confiscation of our Church property 
from this example in France that I dread, though 
I think this would be no trifling evil. The great 
source of my solicitude is, lest it should ever be con- 
sidered in England as the policy of a state to seek a 
resource in confiscations of any kind, or that any 
one description of citizens should be brought to re- 

yanle misere sans avoir M ni pu etre entendus, its ne mttrmurent point, ila 
restent fidbles anx principes du plus pur patriotisme ; iU sont encore 
prets ii verscr leiir saruj pour le raainticn dc la constitution, qui va t6- 
duire leur villc u la plus deplorable nidlitg." — These people are not sup- 
posed to have endured those sufferings and injustices in a struggle for 
liberty, for the same account states truly that they have been always 
free ; their patience in beggary and ruin, and their suffering, without 
remonstrance, the most flagrant and confessed injustice, if strictly 
true, can be nothing but the effect of this dire fanaticism. A great 
mnltitndo nil over France is in the same condition and the samf 

• See the proceedings of the confederation at Nantes. 



.^ \\ 



gard any of the others as their proper prey.* Na- 
tions are wading deeper and deeper into an ocean of 
boundless debt. Public debts, which at first were a 
security to governments, by interesting many in the 
public tranquillity, are likely in their excess to be- 
come the means of their subversion. If governments 
provide for these debts by heavy impositions, they 
perish by becoming odious to the people. If they do 
not provide for them, they will be undone by the ef- 
forts of the most dangerous of all parties : I mean an 
extensive, discontented moneyed interest, injured and 
not destroyed. The men who compose this interest 
look for their security, in the first instance, to the 
fidelity of government ; in the second, to its power. 
If they find the old governments effete, worn out, and 
with their springs relaxed, so as not to be of sufficient 
vigor for their purposes, they may seek new ones 

* " Si plnres sunt ii quibus improbe datum est, quam illi quibns 
injuste ademptum est, idcirco plus etiam valent? Non enira nume- 
ro hsEC judicantur, sed pondere. Quam autem habet eequitatem, ut 
agrum multis annis, aut etiam sseculis ante possessum, qui nullum 
habnit habeat, qui autem habuit amittat? Ac, propter hoc injuria 
genus, Lacedaemonii Lysandrum Ephornm expulerunt ; Agin rcgem 
(quod nunquam antea apud cos acciderat) necaverunt ; exque eo tem- 
pore tantsB discordiffl secutae sunt, ut et tyranni exsistercnt, et opti- 
mates exterminarentur, et preclarissime constituta respublica dilabe- 
retur. Ncc vcro solum ipsa cecidit, sed etiam reliquam Graeciam 
evertit contagionibus malorum, quffl a Lacedamoniis profectse mana- 
runt latins."— After speaking of the conduct of the model of true 
latriots, Aiatus of Sicyon, which was in a very different spirit, he 
gays,— "Sic par est agere cum civibus; non (ut bis jam vidimus) 
hastam in foro poncre et bona civinm voci subjicere prseconis. At ilia 
Grascus (id ((uod fuit sapientis et proestantis viri) omnibus consulen- 
dum esse pntavit : caque est summa ratio ct sapientia boni civis, 
commoda tivium non divellere, sed omnes eadcm sequitate continere." 
— Cic. Off. 1. 2. 




; 1 



: 1 





I-' *- 

i. ! 

that shall be possessed of more energy ; and this en- 
ergy will be derived, not from an acquisition of re- 
sources, but from a contempt of justice. Revolutions 
are favorable to confiscation ; and it is impossible to 
know under what obnoxious names the neit confis- 
cations will be authorized. I am sure that the prin- 
ciples predominant in Prance extend to very many 
persons, and descriptions of persons, in all countries, 
who think their innoxious indolence their security. 
This kind of innocence in proprietors may be argued 
into inutility ; and inutility into an unfitness for their 
estates. Many parts of Europe are in open disorder. 
In many othi^rs there is a hollow murmuring under 
ground ; a confused movement is felt, that threatens 
a general earthquake in the political world. Already 
confederacies and correspondences of the most ex- 
traordinary nature are forming in several countries.* 
In such a state of things we ought to hold ourselves 
upon our guard. In all mutations (if mutations must 
be) the circumstance which will serve most to blunt 
the edge of their mischief, and to promote what good 
may be in tliem, is, that they should find us with our 
minds tenacious of justice and tender of property. 

But it will be argued, that this confiscation in 
France ought not to alarm other nations. They say 
it is not made from wanton rapacity ; that it is a 
great measure of national policy, adopted to remove 
an extensive, inveterate, superstitious mischief. — It is 
with the greatest difficulty that I am able to separate 
policy from justice. Justice is itself the great stand- 
ing policy of civil society ; and any eminent depart- 

• See two books entitled, "Einige Originalschriften dos Illumi- 
natenordcns," — " System and Folgen des Lluminatenordens." MUn 
Chen, 1787. 


fi'^ .. 



ure from it, under any circumstances, lies under tbe 
suspicion of being no policy at all. 

When men are encouraged to go into a certain 
mode of life by the existing laws, and protected in 
that mode as in a lawful occupation, — when they 
have accommodated all their ideas and all their habits 
to it, — when the law had long made their adherence 
to its rules a ground of reputation, and their depart- 
ure from them a ground of disgrace and even of pen- 
alty,— I am sure it is unjust in legislature, by an 
arbitrary act, to offer a sudden violence to their 
minds and tlieir feelings, forcibly to degrade them 
from their state and condition, and to stigmatize with 
shame and infamy that character and those customs 
which before had been made the measure of their 
liappiness and honor. If to this be added an expul- 
sion from their habitations and a confiscation of all 
their goods, I am not sagacious enough to discover 
how this despotic sport made of the feelings, con- 
sciences, prejudices, and properties of men can be 
discriminated from the rankest tyranny. 

If the injustice of the course pursued in France be 
clear, the i 'licy of the measure, that is, the public 
benefit to be expected from it, ought to be at least 
as evident, and at least as important. To a man who 
acts under the influence of no passion, who has noth- 
ing in view in his projects but the public good, a 
great difference will immediately strike him, between 
what policy would dictate on the original introduc- 
tion of such institutions, and on a question of their 
total abolition, where they have cast their roots wide 
and deep, and where, by long habit, things more val- 
uable than themselves are so adapted to them, and m 
a manner interwoven with them, that the one cannot 



it f 








■if I 

be destroyed without notably impairing the other. 
He might be embarrassed, if the case wore really such 
as sophisters repidsent it in their paltry style of de- 
bating. But in this, as in most questions of state, 
there is a middle. There is something else than 
the mere alternative of absolute destruction or uure- 
formed existence. Spartam nactus es ; hanc exorna. 
This is, in my opinion, a rule of profound sense, and 
ought nftver to depart from the mind of an honest re- 
former. 1 cannot conceive how any man can have 
brouglit himself to that pitch of presumption, to con- 
sider his country as nothing but carte blanche, upon 
which he may scribble whatever he pleases. A man 
full of warm, speculative benevolence may wish his 
society otherwise constituted than he finds it ; but a 
good patriot, and a true politician, always considers 
how he shall make the most of the existing materi- 
als of his country. A disposition to preserve, and 
an ability to improve, taken together, would be my 
standard of a statesman. Everything else is vulgar 
iu tlio conception, perilous in the execution. 

There are moments in the fortune of states, when 
particular men are called to make improvements by 
great mental exertion. Iu those moments, even when 
they seem to enjoy the confidence 0*" their prince and 
country, and to be invested with full authority, they 
have not always apt instruments. A politician, to do 
great things, looks for a power, what our workmen 
call a, purchase; and if he finds that power, in politics 
as in mechanics, he cannot be at a loss to apply it. 
In the monastic institutions, in my opinion, was 
found a great power for tne mechanism of politic be- 
nevolenco. There were revenues with a public direc- 
tion ; there were men wholly set apart and dedicated 




to public purposes, without any other than public ties 
and public principles, — men without the possibility 
of converting the estate of the community into a pri- 
vate fortune, — men denied to self-interests, whoee 
avarice is for some community, — men to whom per- 
sonal poverty is honor, and implicit obedience stands 
in the jjlace of freedom. In vain shall a man look to 
the possibility of making such things when he wants 
them. The winds blow as they list. These institu- 
tions are the products ot enthusiasm; they are the 
instruments of wisdom. Wisdom cannot create mate- 
rials ; they are the gifts of Nature or of chance ; her 
pride is in the use. The perennial existonce of bod- 
ies corporate and their fortunes are things particu- 
larly suited to a man who has long views, — who 
meditates designs that require time in fashioning, 
and which propose duration when they are accom- 
plished. F.e is not deserving to rank high, or even 
to be mentioiied in the order of great statesmen, who, 
having obtained the command and direction of such 
a power as existed in the wealth, the discipline, and 
the habits of such corporations as those which you 
have rashly det^troyed, cannot find any way of con- 
verting it to the great and lasting benefit of liis coun- 
try. On tliG view of this subject, a thousand uses 
suggest themselves to a contriving mind. To destroy 
any power growing wild from the rank productive 
force of the human mind is almost tantamount, in 
the moral world, to the destruction of the apparently 
active properties of bodies in the material. It would 
be like the attempt to destroy (if it were in our com- 
petence to destroy) the expansive force of fixed air in 
nitre, or the power of steam, or of ek iricity, or of 
magnetism. These energies always existed in Na- 

, r 






f S 




ture, and they were always discernible. They seemed, 
some of them unserviceable, some noxious, some no 
better than a sport to children, — until contemplative 
ability, combining with practic skill, tamed their wild 
nature, subdued them to use, and rendered them at 
once the most powerful and the most tractable agents, 
in subservience to the great views and lesigns of men. 
Did fifty thotisand persons, whose mental and whose 
bodily labor you might direct, and so many hundred 
thousand a year of a revenue, which was neither laay 
nor superstitious, appear too big for your abilities to 
wield ? Had you no way of using the men, but by 
converting monks into pensioners ? Had you no way 
of turning the revenue to account, but through the 
improvident resource of a spendthrift sale ? If you 
were thus destitute of mental funds, the proceeding 
is in its natural courbv. Your politicians do not 
understand their trade ; and therefore they sell their 

But the institutions savor of superstition in their 
very principle ; and they nourish it by a permanent 
and standing influence. — This I do not mean to dis- 
pute ; but this ought not to hinder you from deriv- 
ing from superstition itself any resources which may 
thence be furnislied for the public advantage. You 
derive benefits from many dispositions and many pas- 
sions of the human mind which are of as doubtful 
a color, in the moral eye, as superstition itself. It 
war your business to correct and mitigate everything 
whicli was noxious in this passion, as in all the pas- 
sions. But is superbtition the greatest of all possi- 
ble vices ? In its possible excess I think it becomes 
a very great evil. It is, however, a moral subject, 
and of course admits of all degrees and all modifica- 

H C 





* least of the 

.ed to these 

XX. Wisdom 

oily, ''"aey are 

tions. Sup)erstition is the religion of feeble minds ; 
and they must be tolerated in an intermixture of it, 
in some trifling or some enthusiastic sliape or other, 
else you will deprive weak minds of a resourje found 
necessary to the strongest. Tlie body of all true re- 
ligion consists, to be sure, in obedience to the will 
of the Sovereign of the world, in a confidence in 
His declarations, and in imitation of His perfections. 
The rest is our own. It may be prejudicial to the 
great end, — it may be auxiliary. Wise mon, who, as 
such, are not admirers, (not aC.. 
niunera terrce,") are not violet 
tilings, nor do they violently .: 
is not the most severe correct*, 
the rival follies which mutually wage so Uiw-elenting 
a war, and which make so cruel a use of their ad- 
vantages, as they can happen to engage the immod- 
erate vulgar, on the one side or the other, in their 
quarrels. Prudence would be neuter ; but if, in the 
contention between fond attachment and fierce antip- 
athy concerning things in their nature not made to 
produce such heats, a prudent man were obliged to 
make a choice of what errors and excesses of enthu- 
siasm he would condemn or bear, perhaps he would 
think the superstition which builds to be more tol- 
erable than that which demolishes, — that which 
adorns a country, than that wliich deforms it, — that 
which endows, than that which plunders, — that 
which disposes to mistaken beneficence, tlian that 
which stimulates to real injustice, — that which leads 
a man to refuse to himself lawful pleasures, than that 
which snatches from others the scanty subsistence of 
their self-denial. Such, I think, is very nearly the 
state of the question between the ancient ^anders 



'I I 

'> i 










I 1 
1 ! 

of monkish superstition and the superstition of the 
pretended "hilosophers of the hour. 

For the present I postpone all consideration of the 
supposed public profit of the sale, which, however, I 
conceive to be perfectly delusive. I shall here only 
consider it as a transfer of property. On the poli- 
cy of that transfer I shall trouble you with a few 

In every prosperous community something more is 
produced than goes to the immediate support of the 
producer. Tliis surplus forms the income of the 
lauded capitalist. It will be spent by a proprietor 
who does not labor. But this idleness is itself the 
spring of labor, this repose the spur to industry. 
The only concern for the state is, that the capital 
taken in rent from the land should be returned 
again to the industry from whence it came, and 
that its expenditure should be with the least possible 
detriment to the morals of those who expend it and 
to those of the people to whom it is returned. 

In all the views of receipt, expenditure, and per- 
sonal employment, a sober legislator would carefully 
compare the possessor whom he was recommended 
to expel with the stranger who was proposed to fill 
his place. Before the inconveniences are incurred 
which must attend all violent revolutions in proper- 
ty tlirough extensive confiscation, we ought to have 
some rational assurance that the purchasers of the 
confifacated properly will be in a considerable degree 
more laborious, more virtuous, more sober, less dis- 
posed to extort an unreasonable proportion of the 
gains of tlie laborer, or to consume on themselves a 
larger sliare than is fit for the measure of an individ- 
ual,— or that they should be qualified to dispense the 



surplus in a more steady and equal mode, so as to 
answer the purposes of a politic expenditure, than 
the old possessors, call those possessors bishops, or 
canons, or commendatory abbots, or monks, or what 
yo I please. The monks are lazy. Be it so. Sup- 
pose them no otherwise employed than by singing in 
the choir. They are as usefully employed as tliosc 
who neither sing nor say, — as usefully even as those 
who sing upon the stage. They are as usefully em- 
ployed as if they worked from dawn to darl- in the 
innumerable -^n^ile, degrading, uns "y, unmanly, 
and often most, unwholesome and pc.ferous occu- 
pations to which by the social economy so many 
wretches are inevitably doomed. If it were not gen- 
erally pernicious to disturb the natural course of 
things, and to impede in any degree the great wheel 
of circulation which is turned by the strangely direct- 
ed labor of these unhappy people, I should be infi- 
nitely more inclined forcibly to rescue them from their 
miserable industry than violently to disturb the tran- 
quil repose of monastic quietude. Humanity, an" 
perhaps policy, might better justify me in the one 
than in the other. It is a subject on which I have 
often reflected, and never reflected witliout feeling 
from it. I am sure that no consideration, except 
the necessity of submitting to the yoke of luxury 
and the despotism of fancy, who in tlieir own impe- 
rious way will distribute the surplus product of the 
soil, can justify the toleration of such trades and 
employments in a well-regulated state. Kut for this 
purpose of distribution, it seems to me that the idle 
expenses of monks are quite as well directed as the 
idle expenses of us lay loiterers. 

When the advantages of the possession and of the 







project aro on a par, there is no motive for a change. 
But in tl>e present case, perhaps, , "- are not upon a 
par, and the difference is in favor of the possession. 
It does not appear to me that the expenses of tlio$o 
whom you aro going to expel do in fact talie a 
course so directly and so generally leading to vitiate 
and degrade and render miserable tliose through 
whom tliey pass as the expenses of those favorites 
wiiom you are intruding into their houses. Why 
should the expenditure of a great landed property, 
which ift a dispersion of the surplus product of the 
soil, appear intolerable to you or to me, when it tahes 
its course through the accumulation of vast libraries, 
which are the history of the force and weakness of 
the human mind, — through great collections of an- 
cient records, medals, and coins, which attest and 
explain laws and customs, — througli paintings and 
statues, tliat, by imitating Nature, seem to extend the 
limits of creation, — through grand monuments of the 
dead, which continue the regards and connections of 
life beyond the grave, — through collections of the 
specimens of Nature, which becrme a representative 
assembly of all the classes and families of the world, 
that by disposition facilitate, and by exciting curiosi- 
ty open, tlie avenues to science ? If by great perma- 
nent establishments all these objects of expense are 
better secured from the inconstant sport of personal 
caprice and personal extravagance, are tlicy worse 
than if the same tastes prevailed in scattered individ- 
uals ? Does not tlie sweat of the mason and carpen- 
ter, who toil in order to partake the sweat of tho 
peasant, flow as pleasantly and as salubriously in tiie 
construction and repair of the majestic edifices of re- 
ligion as in the painted booths and sordid sties of 

J I 







vice and luxury? as lioiiorably and as profitably in 
repnirinjj those sacrod works wludi grow hoary with 
innumerable years av. on the mumentiiry receptacles 
of transient voluptuousness, — in opera-houses, and 
brothels, and gaming-houses, and club-houses, and 
oboll!>ks in tlio Champ de Mars? Is the surplus 
product of the olive and the vino worse employed in 
tiio frugal sustenance of persons whom the fictions 
of a pious ima;^ination raise to dignity by construing 
in tho service of God tlian in pampering the innu- 
merable multitude of those who are degraded by be- 
ing made usekss <iomestics, subservient to the pride 
of man ? Are tho decorations of temples an expen- 
diture less worthy a wise man than ribbons, and laces, 
and national cockades, and petit maisons, and petit 
Boupers, and all tho innumerable fopperies and follies 
in which opulence sports away the burden of its su- 
perfluity ? 

Wo tolerate even these, — not from love of them, 
but for fear of worse. We tolerate them, because 
property and liberty, to a degree, require that toler- 
ation. But why proscribe the other, and surely, in 
every point of view, the more laudable use of estates ? 
7hy, through the violation of all property, through 
an outrage upon every principle of liberty, forcibly 
carry them from the better to the worses 

This comparison between the new individuals and 
the old corps is made upon a supposition that no re- 
form could be made in the latter. But, in a question 
of reformation, I always consider corporate bodies, 
whether sole or cons'sting of many, to be much more 
susceptible of a public direction, by the power of the 
state, in the use of their property, and in the regu- 
lation of modes and habits of life in their members, 








■ \) 






1 i 










than private citizens ever can be, or perhaps ought to 
be ; and this seems to me a very material considera- 
tion for those who undertake anything which merits 
the name of a politic enterprise. — So far as to the 
estates of monasteries. 

With regard to the estates possessed by bishops 
and canons and commendatory abbots, I cannot find 
out for what reason some landed estates may not be 
held otherwise than by inheritance. Can any philo- 
sophic spoiler undertake to demonstrate the positive 
or the comparative evil of having a certain, and that, 
too, a large, portion of landed property passing in suc- 
cession through persons whose title to it is, always in 
theory and often in fact, an eminent degree of piety, 
morals, and learning ; a property which by its desti- 
nation, in their turn, and on the score of merit, gives 
to the noblest families renovation and support, to the 
lowest the means of dignity and elevation ; a proper- 
ty, the tenure of which is the performance of some 
duty, (whatever value you may choose to set upon 
that duty,) and the character of whose proprietors 
demands at least an exterior decorum and gravity of 
manners, — who are to exercise a generous, but tem- 
perate hospitality, — part of whose income they are to 
consider as a trust for charity, — and who, even when 
they fail in their trust, when they slide from their 
character, and degenerate into a mere common secular 
nobleman or gentleman, are in no respect worse than 
those who may succeed them in their forfeited posses- 
sions ? Is it better that estates should be held by 
those who have no duty than by those who have one ? 
by those whose character and dostniation point to 
virtues than by those who have no rule and direction 
in the expenditure of their estates but their own will 





and appetite ? Nor are these estates held altogether 
in the cliaracter or with the evils supposed inherent 
in mortmain. They pass from hand to hand with a 
more rapid circulation tlian any other. No excess is 
good, and therefore too great a proportion of landed 
property may be held officially for life ; but it does 
not seem to mo of material injury to any common- 
wealth that there should exist some estates that have 
a chance of being acquired by other means than the 
previous acquisition of money. 

This letter is grown to a great length, though it 
is, indeed, short with regard to the infinite extent of 
tlie subject. Various avocations have from time to 
time called my mind from the subject. I was not 
sorry to give myself leisure to observe whether in 
the proceedings of the National Assembly I might 
not find reasons to change or to qualify some of my 
first sentiments. Everything has confirmed mo more 
strongly in my first opinions. It was my original 
purpose to take a view of the principles of the Na- 
tional Assembly with regard to the great ani funda- 
mental establishments, and to compare the whole of 
what you have substituted in the place of wliat you 
have destroyed with the several members of our Brit- 
ish Constitution. But this plan is of greater extent 
than at first I computed, and I find that you have 
little desire to take the advantage of any examples. 
At present I must content myself with some remarks 
upon your establishments, reserving for another time 
what I proposed to say concerning tlie spirit of our 
British monarcliy, aristocracy, and democracy, as prac- 
tically they exist. 

I have taken a view of what has been done by the 

VOL. 111. 29 


1 \ 




^^— g, 





governing power in France. I have certainly spoke 
of it with freedom. Those whose principle it is to 
despise the ancient, permanent sense of mankind, 
and to set xip a scheme of society on new principles, 
must naturally expect that such of us who think 
better of the judgment of the human race than of 
theirs should consider both them and their devices 
as men and schemes upon their trial. They must 
take it for granted that we attend much to their rea- 
son, but not at all to their authority. They have 
not one of the great influencing prejudices of man- 
kind in their favor. They avow their hostility to 
opinion. Of course they must expect no support 
from that influence, which, with every other au- 
thority, they have deposed from the seat of its ju- 

I can never consider this Assembly as anything 
else than a voluntary association of men who have 
availed themselves of circumstances to seize upon the 
])Ower of the state. They have not the sanction and 
authority of the character under which they first 
met. They have assumed another of a very differ- 
ent nature, and have completely altered and inverted 
all the relations in which they originally stood. They 
do not hold the authority they exercise under any 
constitutional la^ of the state. They have departed 
from the instructions of the people by whom they 
were sent; which instructions, as the Assembly did 
not act in vii-tue of any aticient usage or settled law, 
were the sole source of their autliority. The most 
considerable of their acts have not been done by great 
majorities ; and in this sort of near divisions, which 
carry only the constructive authority of the whole, 
strangers will consider reasons as well as resolutions. 





If they had set up this new, experimental govern- 
ment as a necessary substitute for an expelled tyr- 
anny, mankind would anticipate the time of prescrip- 
tion, which through long usage mellows into legality 
governments that were violent in their commence- 
ment. All those who have affections which lead 
tlieai to the conservation of civil order would rec- 
ognize, even in its cradle, the child as legitimate, 
which has been produced from those principles of 
cogent expediency to which all just governments owe 
their birth, and on which they justify their contin- 
uance. But they will be late and reluctant in giving 
any sort of countenance to the operations of a power 
which has derived its birth from no law and no neces- 
sity, but which, on the contrary, has had its origin 
in those vices and sinister practices by which the so- 
cial imion is often disturbed and sometimes destroyed. 
This Assembly has hardly a year's prescription. We 
have th' ir own word for it that they have made a 
revoluti :i. To make a revolution is a measure 
wliich, primd f route, requires an apology. To make 
a revolution is to subvert the ancient state of our 
country ; and no common reasons are called for to 
justify so violent a proceeding. Tlio sense of man- 
kind authorizes us to examine into the mode of ac- 
quiring new power, and to criticize on the use that 
is made of it, with less awe and reverence than that 
which is tisually conceded to a settled and recognized 

In obtaining and securing their power, the Assem- 
bly proceeds upon principles the most opposite from 
those which appear to direct them in the use of it. 
An observation on this difference will let us into the 
true spirit of thei conduct. Everything which they 












have done, or continue to do, in ordoi to obtain and 
keep their power, is by the most common arts. They 
proceed exactly as their ancestors of ambition have 
done before them. Trace them through all their ar- 
tifices, frauds, and violences, you can find nothing 
at all that is new. They follow precedents and ex- 
amples with the punctilious exactness of a pieader. 
They never depart an iota from the authentic formu- 
las of tyranny and usurpation. But in all the regu- 
lations relative to the public good the spirit has been 
tlie very reverse of this. There they commit the 
whole to the mercy of untried speculations ; they 
abandon the dearest interests of the public to those 
loose theories to which none of them would choose 
to trust the slightest of his private concerns. They 
make this difference, because in their desire of ob- 
taining and securing power they are thoroughly in 
earnest ; there they travel in the beaten road. The 
public interests, because about them they have no 
real solicitude, tliey abandon wholly to chance: I 
say to chance, because their schemes have nothing 
in experience to prove their tendency beneficial. 

^^'t; must always see with a pity not unmixed with 
respect the errors of those who are timid and doubt- 
ful of themselves with regard to points wherein the 
happiness of mankind is concerned. But in these 
gentlemen tliere is nothing of the tender parental 
solicitude whicli fears to cut up the infant for the 
sake of an experiment. In tne vastness of their 
promises and the confidence of their predictions they 
far outdo all the boasting of empirics. The arro- 
gance of their pretensions in a manner provokes 
and challenges us to an inquiry into their founda- 





I am convinced that there are men of considerable 
parts among the popular leaders in the National As- 
sembly. Some of them display eloquence in their 
speeches and their writings. This cannot be Avith- 
out powerful and cultivated talents. But eloquence 
may exist without a proportionable degree of wisdom. 
When I speak of ability, I am obliged to distinguish. 
What they have done towards the support of their 
system bespeaks no ordinary men. Jn the system 
itself, taken as the scheme of a republic construct- 
ed for procuring the prosperity and security of the 
citizen, and for promoting the strength anl gran- 
deur of the state, I confess myself unable to find out 
anything which displays, in a single 'ustanco, the 
work of a comprehensive and disposing mind, or even 
the provisions of a vulgar prudence. Their parpose 
everywhere seems to have been to evade and slip 
aside from difficulti/. This it has been the glory of 
tlie great masters in all the arts to confront, and to 
overcome, — and when they had overcome tlie first 
difficulty, to turn it into an instrument for new con- 
quests over new difficulties: thus to enable them to 
extend the empire of tlieir science, and evon to pusli 
forward, beyond tlie reach of their original thouglits, 
tlie landmarks of the human understanding itself. 
Difficulty is a severe instructor, set over us by the 
supreme ordinance of a parental Guardian and Legis- 
lator, who knows us better than .. j know ourselves, 
as Ho loves us better too. Fatcr ipse colendi haud 
facilem esse v'lam voluit. He that wrestles vsith us 
strengthens our nerves and sharpens our skill. Our 
antagonist is our helper. This amicable conflict with 
difficulty obliges us to an intimate acquaintance with 
our olyect, and compels us .j consider it in all its re- 






lations. It vtrill not suffer us to be superficial. It is 
the want of nerves of uuderstaudiug for such a task, 
it is the degenerate fondness for tricking short-cuts 
and little fallacious facilities, that has in so many 
parts of the world created governments with arbi- 
trary powers. Tlioy have created the late arbitrary 
monarcliy of France. They have created the arbi- 
trary republic of Paris. With them defects in wis- 
dom are to be supplied by the plenitude of force. 
They get nothing by it. Commencing their labors 
on a principle of sloth, they have tlie common for- 
tune of slothful men. The difficulties, wliicli they 
rather had eluded than escaped, meet them again in 
their course ; they multiply and thicken on them ; 
tliey are involved, througli a labyrinth of confused 
detail, in an industry witiiout limit and without di- 
rection ; and in conclusion, the whole of their work 
bccumes feeble, vicious, and insecure. 

It is this inability to wrestle witli difficulty which 
has obliged the arbitrary Assembly of France to com- 
mence their schemes of retbrm with abolition and 
total destruction.* But is it in destroying and pull- 
ing down that skill is displayed ? Your mob can do 

• A leading member of the Assembly, M. Rabaut de St. ^ticnnc, 
has expressed the principle of all their proceedings as clearly as pos- 
sible ; nothing can be more simple : — " Toua les elablissemens en France 
eouronnent le malheur du peuph : pour k rendre lieureux, il faulle renouve- 
ler, changer ses idees, chanjer ses loix, changer tea maatn, .... chan- 
ger Its homines, citanger hs clioses, changer les mots, .... Unit delruire ; 
oiii, tout delruire; puisqae tout eat a ricrier." — This gentleman was 
chosen president in an assembly not sitting at Qaime-Vingt or the 
Petites ilaisons, and composed of persons giving themselves out to be 
rational beings ; but neither his ideas, language, or conduct difTur in 
the smallest degree from the discourses, opinions, and actions of those, 
within and without the Assembly, who direct the operations of the 
machine now at work in France. 




tliis as well at least as your assemblies. The Bhallow 
est understanding, the rudest hand, is more than 
equal to that task. Rage and frenzy will pull down 
more in half an hour than prudence, deliberation, 
and foresight ^an build up in a hundred years. The 
errors and defects of old establishments are visible 
and palpable. It calls for little ability to point them 
out; and where absolute power is given, it requirts 
but a word wholly to abolish the vice and the estab- 
lishment together. Tlio same lazy, but restless dispo- 
sition, which loves sloth and hates quiet, directs these 
politicians, when tlicy come to work for supplying the 
place of what they have destroyed. To make every- 
thing the reverse of what they Inve seen is quite as 
easy as to destroy. No difficultiea occur in what has 
never been tried. Criticism is almost baffled in dis- 
covering the defects of what has not existed ; and 
eager enthusiasm and clieating hope have all the 
wide field of imagination, in which they may expa- 
tiate with little or no opposition. 

At once to preserve and to reform is quite another 
thing. Wlien the useful parts of an old establish- 
ment are kept, and what is superadded is to be fitted 
to what is retained, a vigorous mind, steady, perse- 
vering attention, various powers of comparison and 
combination, and the resources of an understanding 
fruitful in expedients are to be exercised ; they are 
to be exercised in a continued conflict with the com- 
bined force of opposite vices, with tlie obstuiacy tliat 
rejects all improvement, and the levity that is fa- 
tigued and disguhttJ with evcrythuig of which it is in 
possession. But you may object, - "A process of this 
kind is slow. It is not fit for an Assembly wliich 
glories in performing hi a few montlis the work of 





i ^ 


i- 1 1 



ages. Such a mode of reforming, possibly, might 
take up many years." Without question it miglit ; 
and it ought. It is one of tho exceliunces of a mctli- 
od in whicli time is amongst tlie assistants, tliat its 
operation is slow, and in some cases almost impercep- 
tible. If circumspection and Liuition are a part of 
wisdom, when we work only upon inanimate matter, 
surely they become a part of duty too, when the sub- 
ject of our demolition and construction is not bri k 
and timber, but sentient beings, by the sudden al- 
teration of whose state, condition, and habits, multi- 
tudes may be rendered miserable. But it seems as 
if it wore the prevalent opinion in Paris, that an un- 
feeling heart and an undoubting confidence are the 
solo qualifications for a perfect legislator. Far dif- 
ferent are my ideas of that high office. The true law- 
giver ought to have a heart full of sensibility. Ho 
ought to love and respect his kind, and to fear him- 
self. It may be allowed to his teinpcrameiit to catch 
his uitiniate object with an intuitive glance ; but his 
movements towards it ought to be deliberate. Politi- 
cal arrangement, as it is a work for social ends, is to 
be only wrought by social means. There mmd must 
c. ispire with mind. Time is required to produce 
that union of minds which alone can produce all tho 
good we aim at. Our patience will achieve more 
than our force. If I might venture to appeal to what 
is so much out of fashion in Paris, — I mean to expe- 
rience,— I should tell you, that in my course I have 
known, and, according to my measure, have cooper- 
ated with great men ; and 1 have never yet seen any 
plan which has not been mended by the observations 
of those who were much inferior in understanding to 
the person who took the lead in the business. By a 




slow, but wcU-sustaincd progress, the cfrcct of each 
step is watched; the good or ill success u the fir. 
Ki4 light to us in the second; and so, from light 
to li-ht, wo are conducted with safety through tho 
whole serier We see tliat the parts of the system 
do not clash. Tho evils latent in the most promismg 
contrivances are provided for as they arise. One ad- 
vantage is as little as possible sacrihced to anothei. 
We compensate, we reconcile, we balance. ^Ve are 
enabled to unite into a consistent whole the vanous 
anomalies and contending principles that are iound 
in the minds and aff; rs of men. From hence arises, 
not an excellence in simplicity, but one lar superior, 
an excellence in composition. Where the great in- 
terests of mankind are concerned through a ong suc- 
cession of genqrations, that succession ought o be 
admitted into some share in the councils which are 
so deeply to atfect them. If justice requires tins, the 
work itself requires the aid of more minds than one 
age can furnish. It is from this view of tilings t Imt 
the best legislators have been often satisfied with the 
establishment of some sure, solid, and ruling princi- 
ple in govenin. ut,-a power like that which some 
of the philosopi. rs have called a plastic ^atul•e ; and 
having fixed the principle, they have left it alterwards 
to its own oiteration. 

To proceed in this manner, that is, to proceed with 
a providing princii-le and a prolific energy, is with 
me the criterion of profound wisdom. NV uit your 
politicians think the marks of a bold, hardy genius 
are only proofs of a deplorable want of abiuty. By 
their violent haste, and their defiance of the process 
of Nature, they are delivered over blindly to every 
projector and adventurer, to every alchemist and em- 











■■ ,t> 



fc , i 



piric. They despair of turning to account anything 
that is common. Diet is nothing in their system of 
remedy. Tlie worst of it is, that this their despair 
of curing connnon distempers by legular methods 
arises not only from defect of comprehension, but, I 
fear, from some malignity of disposition. Your legis- 
lators seem to liave taken their opinions of all profes- 
sions, ranks, and offices from tlie declamations and 
buffooneries of satirists, — who would themselves bo 
astonished, if they were held to ImO letter of their own 
description"^. By listening only to these, your lead- 
ers regard all things only on the side of their vices 
ii d faults, and view those vices and faults under 
. ry color of exaggeration. It is undoubtedly true, 
though it may seem paradoxical, — but, in general, 
those wlio are habitually employed, in folding and 
displaying faults are unqualified for the work of ref- 
ormation ; because their minds are not only unfur- 
nished with patterns of the fair and good, but by habit 
they come to take no delight in the contemplation of 
those things. By hating vices too much, they como 
to love men too little. It is therefore not wonderful 
that they should be indispoyed and unable to serve 
them. From hence arises the complexionul disposi- 
tion of some of your guides to pull everything in 
1)1, ces. At this malicious game they display tho 
whole of their quadrimanous activity. As to the 
rest, the paradoxes of eloquent writers, brought forth 
purely as a sport of fancy, to try their talents, to 
rouse attention, and excite surprise, are taken up by 
these gentlemen, not iii the spirit of the original au- 
thors, as means of cultivating their taste and improv- 
ing their style: these paradoxes become with them 
serious grounds of action, upon which they proceed in 




re-ulating tho most important concerns of the state. 
Cicero ludicrously describes Cato as endeavoring to 
act in the commonwoalth v^mx tho school paradoxes 
which exorcised tho xvits of the .junior students m tho 
Stoic philosophy. If this was true of Cato, these gen- 
tlemen copy after him in the n.anner of some persons 
wl»o lived about his time, -/>-/. nudo Catomm Mr. 
IIU...0 told me that he had fium Rousseau lumsclf 
the secret of his principles of compos.tum. Ihat 
acute, though eccentric observer, had percevs-ed, that 
to strike and interest the pul>lie, the marvellous must 
be P-oduced; that the marvellous of the heathen m)- 
thology had long since lost its etTects ; that gum s, 
xnn^ichxns, fairies, and heroes of romance ^vl^ch sue- 
ceeded, had exhausted tae portion of c .^duhty w neh 
belonged to their age; that now nothmg was le t to 
a writer but that species of the marvellous, winch 
miMit still be produced, and with as grea an^t 
as ever, though in another way,-that is the marvel- 
lous in life, in manners, in cluuactcrs, and in extraor- 
dinary situations, giving rise to new and un ooked-fo 
. tokls in politics and morals. I believe, that, were 
Rousseau alive, and in one of his lucid "'te-als he 
would be shocked at tho practical frenzy of his schol- 
ars, who in their paradoxes are servile imitators and 
even in their incredulity discover an implicit faith. 

Men who undertake considerai,lc things, even m a 
rcmlar wmv, ouglit to give us ground to presume 
ability. But the physician of tho state, who, not sat- 
S d with the iure of distempers, undertakes to 
rec^euerate constitutions, ought to show uncommon 
powers. Some very unusual appearances of wisdom 
ou.^ht to display themselves on the face of the designs 
o^those who appeal to no practice and who copy 




after no model. Has any such been manifested ? I 
shall tukc a view (it sluiU for the sub; ot be a very 
short one) of what the Asseml)ly has done, with re 
gard, first, to the constitution of the legis^laturo ; in 
the next plaoo, to that of the executive power ; then 
to t! ■■• of the judicature ; ifterwards to the modol of 
the army ; anil coucludo » illi the system of finunco : 
to see wliether wo can discover in any part of their 
schemes the portentous ability which may justify 
these bold undortakers in the superiority which they 
assume nver mankind. 

It is in the model of the sovereign and presiding 
part of this new republic that we should expect their 
grand display. Here they were to prove their title to 
their i)roud demands. Fur the plan itself at large, 
and for tlie reasons on which it is grounded, I refer to 
tlie journals of the Assembly of the 2Uth of Septem- 
ber, 1789, and to tlie subsequent proceedings which 
have made any alterations in the plan. So far as ill 
a matter somewliat confused I can see light, the sys- 
tem remains substantially as it has been originally 
framed. My few remarks will be such as regard its 
spirit, its tendency, and its fitness for framing a pop- 
ular commonwealth, which they jjrofess theirs to be, 
suited to tlie ends for which any commonwealth, and 
lnuticulurly such a commonwealth, is m..ue. At tlio 
same time I mean to consider its consistency with 
itself and its own principles. 

Old establishments are tried by their effects. If 
the people are happy, united, wealtliy, and powerful, 
we presume the rest. We conclude that to be good 
from whence good is derived. In old estatdislmients 
various correctives have been found for their aberra- 
tions from theory. Indeed, they are the results of va- 



rious neces.ltios and exnclionccH. Tliey are not of. 
ten constructed after any theory: theories are rather 
drawn frora t'em. In them we often hoo tho end 
best ohtuined. who- • tho means ser>m not perfectly 
reconcihvl.le to what we may fimcy was tho ongnml 
gchcme. Tho means taujiht by experience may bo 
better suited to political than those contrived 
in the ori>,'i.ial ,.iojeet. They a:4uin react ufkh. tho 
nrimitive constitution, and sonuitimes improve tho do- 
Lni it^elf, irom whicli tlioy sc-m to 'vavo departed. 
I think all this miKht bo .■uriou>ly exemphaed ui tho 
British Constitution. At worst, the errors and devia- 
tions of every kind in reckoni..!; are found and com- 
puted, and the ship proceeds in her course, llns 
L tho case of old establishments; but in a new and 
merely theoretic system, it is expected that every 
contrivance shall appear, on the face of it, to answer 
its ends, espcclallv where tho projectors uro no way 
embarrassed with" an endeavor to .ocommodate tho 
new buil.ling to an old one, either in tho walls or 
on tho fouiitlations. 

The FiTii.-h builders, clcarinrj away as mere nib- 
bish whatever they found, and, like their orna.mmtal 
gardeners, forming everything into an exact level, 
m-opose to rest tho whole local and general leg.^la- 
urc on three bases of three different kinds -one gc- 
ometrieal, one arithmetical, and the third financial: 
the first of which they call the basis of femtory; the 
second, the basis of v^pnMion ; and the third fAe 
basis of contribution. For the accomplishment o tho 
fir.t of these purposes, they divide the area ol their 
country into eighty-throe pieces, regularly square, of 
eighteen leagues by eigMeen. These largo divisio,^ 
are called Departments. These they portion, proceed- 


' i n 



Vi I 


» ' 





■J -r 



ing by square measurement, into seventeen hundred 
and twenty districts, called Coynmunes. These again 
they subdivide, still proceeding by square measure- 
ment, into smaller districts, called Cantons, making 
in all 6,400. 

At first view this geometrical basis of theirs pre- 
sents not much to admire or to blame. It calls for 
no great legislative talents. Nothing more than an 
accurate land-surveyor, with his chain, sight, and 
theodolite, is requisite for such a plan as this. In 
the old divisions of the country, various accidents 
at times, and the ebb and flow of various properties 
and jurisdictions, settled their bounds. These bounds 
were not made upon any fixed system, undoubtedly. 
They were subject to some inconveniences ; but they 
were inconveniences for which use had found rem- 
edies, and iiabit had supplied accommodation and 
patience. In this new pavement of square within 
square, and this organization and semi-organization, 
made on the system of Empedocles and Butfon, and 
not upon any politic principle, it is impossible that 
innumerable local inconveniences, to which men are 
not habituated, must not arise. But these I pass 
over, because it requires an accurate knowledge of 
tlie country, which I do not possess, to specify them. 

When these state surveyors came to take a view of 
their work of measurement, they soon found that in 
politics the most fallacious of all things was geo- 
metrical demonstration. They had then recourse to 
another basis (or rather buttr ) to support the 
building, which tottered on that faise foundation. It 
was evident that the goodness of the soil, the num- 
ber of the people, their wealth, and the largeness of 
their contribution, made such infinite variations be- 




tween square and square as to render mensuration a 
ridiculous standard of power in tlie common wealth, 
and equality in geometry the most unequal of all 
measures in the distribution of men. However, they 
could not give it up, — but, dividing their political 
and civil representation into three parts, they allotted 
one of those parts to the square measurement, with- 
out a sinjrle fact or calculation to ascertain whether 
this territurial proportion of representation was fairly 
assigned, and ought upon any principle really to be a 
third. Having, however, given to geometry this por- 
tion, (of a third for her dower,) out of compliment, I 
suppose, to that sublime science, they left the other 
two to be scuffled for between the other parts, popu- 
lation and contribution. 

When they came to provide for population, they 
were not able to proceed quite so smoothly as they 
had done in the field of their geometry. Uore their 
arithmetic came to bear upon their juridical meta- 
physics. Had they stuck to their metaphysic princi- 
ples, the arithmetical process would be simple indeed. 
Men, with tliem, are strictly equal, and are entitled to 
eqxial rights in their own government. Each head, 
on this system, would have its vote, and every man 
would vote directly for the person who was to rep- 
resent him in the legislature. " But soft, — by regu- 
lar degrees, not yet." This metaphysic principle, 
to whidi law, custom, usage, policy, reason, were 
to yield, is to yield itself to their pleasure. There 
must be many degrees, and some stages, before the 
representative can come in contact with his constit- 
uent. Indeed, as we shall soon see, these two per- 
sons are to have no sort of communion with each 
other. First, the voters in the Canton, who compose 


-i \\\i 

«.i ii 






what tlicy call primary asaemhlies, are to have a qual- 
ification. What ! a qualification on tho indefeasible 
lights of men? Yes; but it shall be a very small 
qualification. Our injustice shall bo very little op- 
l)ressive : only the local valuation of three days' la- 
bor paid to tho public. Why, this is not much, 1 
readily admit, for anything but the utter subversion 
of your equalizing principle. As a qualification it 
might as well be lot alone ; for it answers no one pur- 
pose for which qualifications are established ; and, on 
your ideas, it excludes from a vote the man of all 
others whose natural equality stands the most in 
need of protection ^nd defence : I mean the man who 
has nothing else but his natural equality to guard 
him. You order him to buy tlie right which you 
before told him Nature had given to him gratuitously 
at his birth, and of which no authority on earth could 
lawfully deprive him. With regard to the person 
who cannot come up to your market, a tyrannous 
aristocracy, as against him, is established at the very 
outset, by yoxi who pretend to be its sworn foe. 

The gradation proceeds. These primary assemblies 
of the Canton elect deputies to the Commune, — one for 
rvery two hundred qualified inhabitants. Here is the 
first medium piit between the primary elector and the 
representative legislator; and here a new turnpike 
is fixed for taxing the rights of men with a second 
qualification: for none can be elected into the Com- 
muw wlio does not pay the amount of ten days' labor. 
Nor have we yet done. There is still to be another 
gradation.* These Communes, chosen by the Canton, 

• The Asscmhly, in executing the plan of their committee, made 
some alterations. They have struck out one stape in these grada- 
tions ; this removes a part of the objection ; jut the main objection, 




choose to the Department; and the doinitics of the 
Department choo^o their deputies to the N(dionnl 
Assembly. Here is a third barrier of a senseless 
qualification. Every deputy to the National Assem- 
bly must pay, in direct contribution, to the value of 
a mark of silver. Of all these qualifying barriers we 
must think alike : that they are impotent to secure 
independence, strong only to destroy tlie rights of 


In all this process, which in its fundamental ele- 
ments affects to consider only population, upon a prin- 
ciple of natural right, there is a manifest attention 
to properti/, — vfhich, however just and reasonable on 
other schemes, is on theirs perfectly unsupportable. 

When they come to their third basis, that of Con- 
tribution, we find that they have more completely lost 
sight of the rights of men. Tliis last basis rests en- 
tirely on property. A principle totally different from 
the equality of men, and utterly irreconcilable to it, 
is thereby admitted : but no sooner is this principle 
admitted than (as usual) it is subverted ; and it i^ 
not subverted (as we sliall presently see) to approxi- 
mate the inequality of riches to the level of Nature. 
The additional share in tlie third portion of repre- 
sentation (a portion reserved exclusively for the 
higher contribution) is made to regard the district 
only, and not the individuals in it who pay. It is 
easy to perceive, by the course of their reasonings, 
how much they were embarrassed by their contra- 

namclv, that in their scheme the first constituent voter hits no con- 
nection with the rcriresentativc k-gislator, r- ■^ins in all its foive. 
There are other alterations, some possibly for "■ better, some cer- 
tainly for the worse : l)ut to the author the merit or demerit of these 
smaller alterations appears to bo of no inoi.iont, v.!.cre the scheme 
itself is funaamcntally vicious and absurd. 

VOL. III. 30 






i I 

« J 

1 1 



i< I 

I ? 



dictory ideas of the rights of men and the privi- 
leges of riches. The Committee of Constitution do 
as good as admit that they are wholly irreconcilable. 
"The relation with regard to the contributions is 
without doubt null, (say they,) when the question is 
on the balance of the political rights as between in- 
diddual and individual ; w thout which /)er«onaZ equal- 
ity would be destroyed. d an aristocracy of the rich 
would be established. But this inconvenience en- 
tirely disappears, when the proportional relation of 
the contribution is only considered in the great mass- 
es, and is solely between province and province; it 
serves in that case only to form a just reciprocal pro- 
portion between the cities, without affecting the per- 
sonal rights of the citizens." 

Here the principle of contrihv*'/m, as taken between 
man and man, is reprobated as null, and destructive 
to equality, — and as pernicious, too, because it leads 
to the establishment of an aristocracy of the rich. 
However, it must not be abandoned. And the way 
of getting rid of the difficulty is to establish the in- 
equality as between department and department, leav- 
ing all the individuals in each department upon an 
exact par. Observe, that this parity between individ- 
uals had been before destroyed, when the qualifica- 
tions within the departments were settled ; nor does 
it seem a matter of great importance whether the 
equality of men be injured by masses or individually. 
An indivif'ual is not of the same importance in a mass 
represented by a few as in a mass represented by 
many. It would be too much to tell a man jealous 
of his equality, that the elector has the same fran- 
chise who votes for three members as he who votes 
for ten. 

i-l H 



Now take it in the other point of view, and let us 
suppose their principle of repi .sentation according to 
contribution, that i, ccordiug to riches, to be well 
imagined, and to be a necessary basis for their repub- 
lic. In this their third basis they assume that riclies 
ought to be respected, and that justice and policy re- 
quire that they should entitle men, in some mode or 
other, to a larger share in the administration of pub- 
lic affairs ; it is now to be seen how the Assembly 
provides for the preeminence, or even for the secu- 
rity of the rich, by conferrin,:, in virtue of their opu- 
lence, that larger measure of power to their district 
which is denied to them personally. I readily admit 
(indeed,! should lay it down as a fundamental prin- 
ciple) that in a republican government, which has a 
democratic basis, the rich do require an additional 
security above what is necessary to them in monar- 
chies. They are subject to envy, and through envy 
to oppression. On the present scheme it is impossi- 
ble to divine what advantage they derive from the 
aristocratic preference upon which the unequal rep- 
resentation of the masses is founded. The rich can- 
not feel it, either as a support to dignity or as se- 
curity to fortune : for the aristocratic mass is gen- 
erated from purely democratic principles ; and the 
prevalence given to it in the general r-— esentation 
has no sort of reference to or conne with the 

l^ersons upon account of whose prope -is superi 
ority of the mass is established. If the contrivers of 
this scheme meant any sort of favor to the rich, in 
consequence of their contribution, they ought to have 
conferred the privilege either on the individual rich, 
or on some class formed of rich persons (as historians 
represent Servius Tullius to have done in the early 






■ ' f 

constitution of Rome) ; because the coutest between 
the rich and the poor is not a struggle between cor- 
poration and corporation, but a contest between men 
and men, — a competition, not between districts, but 
between descriptions. It would answer its purpose 
better, if the scheme were inverted: that the votes of 
the masses were rendered equal, and that the votes 
within each mass were proportioned to property. 

Let us suppose one man in a district (it is an easy 
supposition) to contribute as much as a hundred of 
bis neighbors. Against these h'j has but one vote. 
If there were but one representative for the mass, 
his poor neighbors would outv 'to him by an hundred 
to one for that s-iiigle representative. Bad enough! 
But amends are to be made him. How ? The dis- 
trict, in virtue of his wealth, is to choose, say ten 
members instead of o? : that is to say, by paying a 
very large cuntributio.i ho has the happiness of being 
outvoted, an hundred to one, by the poor, for ten rep- 
resentatives, instead of being outvoted exactly in the 
same proportion for a single member. In truth, in- 
stead of benefiting by this superior quantity of repre- 
sentation, the rich man is subjected to an additional 
hardship. The increase of representation witliin his 
province sets up nine persons more, and as many 
more than nine as there may be democratic candi- 
dates, to cabal and nitrigue and to flatter the people 
at his expense and to his oppression. An interest is 
by this means held out to multitudes of the inferior 
sort, in oVitaining a salary of eighteen livres a day, 
(to them a vast object,) besides tlie pleasure of a resi- 
dence in Paris, and their share in the government of 
the kingdom. Tlie more the objects of ambition are 
multiplied and become democratic, jtist in that pro- 
portion the rich are endangered. 

i ! i 



Thus it must fare between the poor and the rich in 
the province deemed aristocratic, which in its inter- 
nal relation is the very reverse of that character. In 
its external relation, that is, in its relation to the 
other provinces, I cannot see how the unequal repre- 
sentation which is given to masses on account of 
wealth becomes the means of preserving the equi- 
poise and the tranquillity of the commonwealth. 
For, if it be oae of the objects to secure the weak 
from being crushed by the strong, (as in all society 
undoubtedly it is,) how are the smaller and poorer 
of these masses to be saved from the tyranny of 
tiie more wealthy ? Is it by adding to the wealthy 
further and more systematical means of oppressing 
them? When we come to a balance of representa- 
tion between corporate bodies, provincial interests, 
emulations, and jealousies are full as likely to arise 
among them as among individuals ; and their divis- 
ions are likely to produce a much hotter spirit of dis- 
sension, and something leading much more nearly to 

a war. 

I see that these aristocratic masses are made upon 
what is called the principle of direct contribution. 
Nothing can be a more unequal standard than this. 
The indirect contribution, that which arises from du- 
ties on consumption, is in truth a better standard, 
and follows and discovers wealth more naturally than 
this of direct contribution. It is difficult, indeed, to 
fix a standard of local preference on account of tlio 
one, or of the other, or of both, because some provin- 
ces may pay the more of either or of both on account 
of causes not intrinsic, but originating from those 
very districts over whom they have obtained a prefer- 
ence in consequence of their ostensible contribution 





I: M'' 

If the masses were independent, sovereign bodies, 
who wore to provide for a federative treasury by dis- 
tinct contingents, and tliat the revenue had not (as it 
lias) many impositions running through the whole, 
which affect men individually, and not corporately, 
and which, by their nature, confound all territorial 
limits, something might be said for the basis of con- 
tribution as founded on masses. But, of all things, 
this representation, to be measured by contribution, is 
the most difficult to settle upon principles of equity 
in a country which considers its districts as members 
of a whole. For a great city, such as Bordeaux or 
Paris, appears to pay a vast body of duties, almost 
out of all assignable proportion to other places, and 
its mass is considered accordingly. But are those 
cities the true contributors in that proportion ? Xo. 
The consumers of the commodities imported into 
Bordeaux, who are scattered through all France, 
pay the import duties of Bordeaux. The produce 
of the vintage in Guieune and Languedoc give to 
that city the means of its contribution growing out 
of an export commerce. The landholders who spend 
their estates in Paris, and are thereby the creators of 
that city, contribute for Paris from the provinces out 
of which their revenues arise. Very nearly the same 
arguments will apply to the representative share 
given on account of direct contr'bution : because the 
direct contribution must be assessed on wealth, real 
or presumed ; and that local wealth will itself arise 
from causes not local, and which therefore in equity 
ought not to produce a local preference. 

It is very remarkable, that, in this fundamentf-i 
regulation which settles the representation of the 
mass upon the direct contribution, they have not yet 



settled how that direct contribution shall be laid, and 
how apportioned. Perhaps there is some latent policy 
towards the continuance of the present Assembly in 
this strange procedure. However, until they do this, 
they can have no certain constitution. It must de- 
pend at last upon the system of taxation, and must 
vary with every variation in that systei". As they 
have contrived matters, their taxation does not so 
much depend on their constitution as their constitu- 
tion on their taxation. This must introduce g;jat 
confusion among the masses ; as tiie variable qualifi- 
cation for votes within the district must, if ever real 
contested elections take place, cause infinite internal 

To compare together the three bases, not on their 
political reason, but on the ideas on which the As- 
sembly works, and to try its consistency with itself, 
we cannot avoid observing that the principle which 
the committee call the basis of population does not 
begin to operate from the same point with the two 
other principles, called the bases of territory and of 
contribution, which are both of an aristocratic nature. 
The consequence is, that, where all three begin to 
operate together, there is the most absurd inequal- 
ity produced by the operation of the former on the 
two latter principles. Every canton contains four 
square leagues, and is estimated to contain, on the 
average, 4,000 inhabitants, or 680 voters in the pri- 
inary assemblies, which vary in numbers with the 
population of the canton, and send one deputy to 
the commune for every 200 voters. Nine cantons 
make a commune. 

Now let us take a canton containing a seaport town 
of trade, or a great manufacturing town. Let us sup- 




I hi 


i: 11 








' i I?. 

pose tho population of this canton to be 12,700 inhal> 
itants, or 2,193 voters, forming three primary a»»em- 
biles, and sending ten dy>utie8 to the commune. 

Oppose to this one canton two others of the remain- 
ing eight in tho same commune. Those we may sup- 
pose to have their fair population, of 4,000 inhabitants, 
and 680 voters each, or 8,000 inliabitants and 1,360 
voters, both together. Those will form only two pri- 
mary assemblies, and send only six deputies to tho 

Wlien tlie assembly of tho commune comes to vote 
on tho basis of territory, which principle is first ad- 
mitted to operate in that assembly, tho single canton, 
which has half the territory of tho other two, will 
have ten voices to six in the election of three deputies 
to the assembly of the department, chosen on tho ex- 
press ground of a representation of territory. This 
inequality, striking as it is, will be yet highly aggra- 
vated, if we suppose, as we fairly may, tho several 
other cantons of the commune to fall proportionably 
short of the average population, as much as the prin- 
cipal canton exceeds it. 

Now as to the basis of contribution, which also is 
a principle admitted first to operate in the assembly 
of the commune. Let us again take one canton, such 
as is stated above. If tho whole of tho direct con- 
tributions i)uid by a great trading or manufacturing 
town be divided equally among the inhabitants, each 
individual will be found to pay much more than aii 
individual living in the country according to the same 
average. The whole paid by the inhabitants of tho 
former will be more than the wl.ole paid by the in- 
habitants of the latter, — we may fairly assume one 
third m(.ro. Then the 12,700 inhabitants, or 2,193 



voters of the canton, will pay as much as 19,050 in- 
habitants, or 3,289 votors of the other cantons- which 
are nearly the estimated proportion of inhabitants and 
voters oifive other cf.ntons. Now the 2,193 voters will, 
as I before said, send only ten deputies to the assem- 
bly ; the 3,289 voters will send sixteen. Thus, for an 
equal share in the contribution of the whole commune, 
there will bo a difforonco of sixteen voices to ten in vot- 
ing foi deputies to be chosen on the principle of repro- 
senting the general contribution of the whole commune. 
By the same mode of computation, w.! shall find 
15,875 inhabitants, or 2,741 voters of the other can- 
tons, who pay one sixth les3 to the contribution of 
the whole commune, will have three voices more than 
the 12,700 inhabitants, or 2,193 voters of the one cm- 

Such is the fantastical and unjust inequality be- 
tween mass and mass, in this curious repartition of 
the rights of representation arising out of territory and 
contribution. Tl.e qualifications wlich these conler 
are in truth negative qualifications, that give a right 
in an inverse proportion to the possession of them. 

In this wlKjle contrivance of the three bases, consid- 
er it in ciiy light you please, I do not see a variety of 
objects reconciled in one consistent whole, but several 
contra.lictory principles reluctantly and irreconcilably 
brought and held together by your philosophers, like 
wild beasts shut up in a cage, *o claw and bite each 
other to their mutual destruction. 

I am afraid I have gone too far into their way ot 
considering the formation of a Constitution. They 
have much, but bad, metaphysics, — much, but bad, 
geometry, — mucli, but false, proportionate arithme- 
tic ; but if it wore all as exact as metaphysics, gcomo- 

■ » 






I 11 

1 1 '[j 












W f 

try, and arithmetic ought to be, and if their schemes 
were perfectly consistent in all their parts, it would 
make only a mure fair and sightly vision. It is re- 
markable, ttiat, in a groat arrangement of mankind, 
not one reference whatsoever is to be found to any- 
thing moral or anything politic, — nothing that re- 
lates to the concerns, the actions, the passions, the 
interests of men. Hominem nan aapiunt. 

You see I only consider this Constitution as electo- 
ral, and leading by steps ti the National Assembly. 
I do not enter into the internal government of the 
departments, ainl their genealogy through the com- 
munes and cantons. These local governments are, 
in the original plan, to be as ' " ''s possible com- 
posed in the same manner an nae principles 
with the elective assemblies. 1 >h of them 
bodies perfectly compact and rounut emselves. 

You cannot but perceive in this scheme, that it has 
a direct and immediate tendency to sever France in- 
to a variety of republics, and to render them totally 
independent of eucb other, without any direct consti- 
tutional means of coherence, connection, or subordi- 
nation, except what may be derived from their acqui- 
escence in the determinations of the general congress 
of the ambassadors from each independent republic. 
Such in really is the National Assembly; and such 
governments, I admit, do exist in the world, though 
in forms infinitely more suitable to the local and habit- 
ual circumstances of their people. But such associa- 
tions, rather than bodies politic, have generally been 
the effect of necessity, not choice ; and I believe the 
present French power is the very first body of citi- 
zens who, having obtained full autliority to do with 
their country what they pleased, have chosen to dis- 
sever it in this barbarous manner. 




w ■ 

A , I. 




It i» impossible not to olwerrc, that, iu the spir- 
it of this geometrical distribution and arithmetical 
arraiigcraeat, these pretended citizens treat France 
exactly like a country of conquest. Acting as con- 
querors, tliey have imitated the policy of tljo harshest 
of that harsh race. Tlie policy of such barbarous, 
victors, who contemn a subdued people, and insult 
their feelings, has ever been, as much as in them lay, 
to Jestroy ail vostigcs of tlio ancient country, in relig- 
ion, in polity, in laws, and in mannerb; lo confound 
all territorial limits; to produce a general poverty; 
to put up their properties to auction ; to crush their 
princes, nobles, and pontiffs ; to lay low everything 
which had lifted its head above tlie level, or which 
could servo to combine or rally, in their distresses, 
the disbanded people, under the standard of old opin- 
ion. They have made France free in the manner 
in which those sincere friends to the v^^^ts of man- 
kind, the Romans, freed Greece, Macedon, and other 
nations. They destroyed the bonds of their union, 
under color of providing for the independence of each 

of their cities. 

When the members who compose these new bod- 
ies of cantons, communes, and departments, arrange- 
ments purposely produced through the medium of 
confusion, begin to act, they will find themselves 
in a great measure strangers to one another. Hie 
electors and elected throughout, especially in the 
rural cantons, will be frequently without any civil 
habitudes or connections, or any of that natural dis- 
cipline which is the soul of a true republic. Magis- 
trates and collectors of revenue are now no longer 
acquainted with their districts, bishops with their 
dioceses, or curates with their parishes. These new 



') '}] 

<t I 



. : I • 



colonies of the rights of men bear a strong resem- 
blance to that sort of military colonies which Tacitus 
has observed upon in the declining policy of Rome. 
In better and wiser days (whatever course they took 
with foreign nations) they were careful to make the 
elements of a methodical subordination and settle- 
ment to be coeval, and even to lay the foundations 
of discipline in the military.* But when all the good 
arts had fallen into ruin, tlioy proceeded, as your 
Assembly does, upon the equality of men, and with 
as little judgment, and as little care for those things 
which make a republic tolerable or durable. But 
in this, as well as almost every instance, your new 
commonwealth is born and bred and fed in those 
corruptions which mark degenerated and worn-out 
republics. Your child comes into the world with the 
symptoms of death ; the fades Hippoeratica forms the 
character of its physiognomy and the prognostic of 

its fate. 

The legislators who framed the ancient republics 
knew that their business was too arduous to be ac- 
complished with no better apparatus than the meta- 
physics of an undergraduate and the mathematics 
and arithmetic of an exciseman. They had to do with 
men, anil tliey were obliged to study human nature. 
Tliey had to do with citizens, and they were obliged 
to study tlie effects of those habits which are commu- 

• " Non, ut oliin, universae let'iones deduccbftiitur, cum tribunis, ct 
centurionibus, ct sui cujusque ordinis militibus, ut consensu et cari- 
tate rempublicara cfficerent; scd ignoti inter se, diversia manipulis, 
8ine rectore, sine affectibus mutuis, quasi ex alio gencrc morialium 
rcpcnte in unum collccti, numerus niagia quam colonia." — Tuo. An- 
nal. lib. 14, sect. 27. — All this will be still more applicable to the 
unconnected, rotutury, biennial national assemblies, in this absurd 
and senseless toustitution. 



nicated by the circumstances of civil life. Tlioy wore 
sensible that the operation of this second nature on 
the first produced a new combination, — and thenco 
arose manv diversities amongst men, accordmg to 
their birth', their education, their professions, the 
periods of tlieir lives, their residence in towns or in 
the country, their several ways of acquiring and of 
fixin- property, and according to the quality of the 
proporty itself, all which rendered them, as it were, so 
many different species of animals. From hence they 
thought themselves obliged to dispose their citizens 
into such classes, and to place them in such situa- 
tions in the state, as their peculiar habits might qual- 
ifv them to fill, and to allot to them such appropriated 
pkvileges as might secure to them what their specific 
occasions required, and which might furnish to each 
description such force as might protect it in tlic con- 
flict caused by the diversity of interests that miist 
exist, and must contend, in all complex society : for 
the lc<nslator would have been ashamed that the 
coarse "husbandman should well know how to assort 
and to use his sheep, horses, and oxen, and should 
liave enough of common sense not to abstract and 
equalize them all into animals, without providing for 
each kind an appropriate food, care, and einployment 
— whilst he, the economist, disposer, and shepherd ot 
his own kindred, subliming himself into an airy met- 
aphysician, was resolved to know nothing of his flocks 
but as men in general. It is for this reason that Mon- 
tesquieu observed, very justly, that, in their classifica- 
tion of the citizens, the great legislators of antiquity 
made the greatest display of their powers, and even 
soared above themselves. It is here that your mod- 
ern legislators have gone deep into the negative so- 

!hr il 




ries, and sunk even below their own nothing. As the 
first sort of legislators attended to the difTerent kinds 
of citizens, and combined them into one common- 
wealth, the others, the metaphysical and alchemis- 
tical legislators, have taken the directly contrary 
course. They have attempted to confound all sorts 
of citizens, as well as they could, into one '.omoge- 
neous mass ; and then they divided this thiii amal- 
gania into a number of incoherent republic . They 
reduce men to loose counters, merely for the ;-ke of 
simple telling, and not to figures, whose power is to 
arise from their place in the table. The elements of 
their own metaphysics might have taught them better 
lessons. The troll cT their categorical table might 
have informed them that there was something else 
in the intellectual world besides substance and quan- 
tity. They might learn from the catechism of meta- 
physics that there were eight heads more,* in every 
complex deliberation, which they have never thought 
of; though these, of all the ten, are the subject on 
which the skill of man can operate anything at all. 

So far from this able disposition of some of the old 
lupublican legislators, which follows with a solicitous 
accuracy the moral conditions and propensities of 
men. they have levelled and crushed together all the 
orders which they found, even under the coarse, 
un artificial arrangement of the monarchy, in which 
mode of government the classing of the citizens is not 
of so much importance as in a republic. It is true, 
however, that every such classification, if properly 
ordered, is good in all forms of government, and 
composes a strong barrier against the excesses of des- 
potism, as well as it is the necessary means of giving 

* Qaalitu, Relatio, Actio, Fas.^io, Ubi, Quando, Sitns, Habitat. 

^'*t^v . 



effect and permanence to a republic. For want of 
something of this kind, if the present project of a 
republic should fail, all securities to a moderated 
freedom fail along with it, all the indirect restraints 
which mitigate despotism are removed; insomuch 
that, if monarchy should ever again obtain an entire 
ascendency in France, under this or any other dynas- 
ty, it will probably be, if not voluntarily tempered, at 
setting out, by the wise and virtuous counsels of the 
prince, the most completely arbitrary power that has 
ever appeared on earth. This is to play a l 

perate game. 

Tlie confusion which attends on all such pi -^.ea- 
ings they even declare to be one of their objects, and 
they hope to secure their Constitution by a terror of 
a return of those evils which attended their making 
it. "By this," say they, "its destruction will be- 
come difficult to authority, which cannot break it iip 
without the entire disorganization of the whole state. 
They presume, that, if this authority should evev come 
to the same dc-ree of power that they have acquired, 
it would make a more moderate and chastised use of 
it and would piously tremble entirely to disorganize 
tlie state in the savage manner that they have done. 
Tliey expect from tlie virtues of returnuig despotism 
the security whicli is to be enjoyed by the ofTspring 
of their popular vices. , 

I wish, Sir, that you and my readers would give 
an attentive perusal to the work of M. do Calonne on 
this subject. It is, indeed, not only an eloquent, t - 
an able and instructive performance. I confine my- 
self to what he says relative to the Constitution of the 
now state, and to the condition of the revenue. As 
to the disputes of this minister with his rivals, I do 






: i it] 



>, I 



not wish to pronounce upon them. As little do I 
mean to hazard any opinion conceniiiig his ways and 
means, financial or political, for taking his country 
out of its present disgraceful and dcilorable situation 
of servitude, anarchy, bankruptcy, and beggary. I 
cannot speculate quite so sanguinely as he does : but 
he is a Frenchman, and has a closer duty relative to 
those objects, and ' .or means of judging of them, 
than I can have. I wish that the formal avowal 
which he refers to, n. le by one of the princip-il lead- 
ers in the Assembly, concerning the tendency of their 
scheme to bring France not only from a monarchy 
to a republic, but from a republic to a me'.e confed- 
eracy, may be very particularly attended to. It adds 
new force to my observations : and, indeed, M. de Ca- 
lonno s work supplies my deficiencies by many new 
and striking arguments on most of the subjects of 
this letter.* 

It is this resolution to break their coimtry into 
i-cparate republics which has driven them into the 
greatest number of their difficulties and contrad'c- 
tions. If it were not for this, all the questions of 
exant equality, and these balances, never to be set- 
tled, of individual rights, population, and contribu- 
tion, would be wholly useless. The representation, 
though derived from parts, would be a duty which 
equally regarded the whole. Each deputy to the 
Af^scmbly would be the representative of France, and 
of all its descriptions, of the many and of the few, of 
tb.e rich and of the poor, of the great districts and of 
the small. All these districts would themselves be 
subordinate to some standing authority, existing in- 
dependently of them, — an authority in which their 

» See l'f:tat dc la France, p. 363. 







roprcseiitation, and everything that belongs to it, 
originated, and to which it was pointed. This stand- 
ing, unalterable, fundamental guveniment would 
luake, and it is the only thing wliich conid make, 
that territoiy truly and properly a whole. With us, 
when we elect popular re[)resentutives, we send them 
to a council in which eacli man individually is a suIh 
jcct, and submitted to a government complete in all 
its ordinary functions. With you tlie elective Assem- 
bly is the sovereign, and the sole sovereign ; all the 
members are therefore integral [)arts of this solo sov- 
ereignty. But with us it is totally different. With 
us the representative, separated from tlie other puri>, 
can have no action and no existence. The govern- 
ment is thvj point o*" reference of the several mem- 
bers and (?'stricts of our representation. This is the 
centre of our imity. This government of reference is 
a trustee for the whole, and not for the parts. .So is 
the other branch of our public council : I mean the 
House of Lords. With us the King and the Lords 
are several and joint securities for the equality of 
each district, each province, each city. When did you 
hear in Great Britain of any province suffering from 
the inequality of its representation V what district 
from having no r<-n-esentation at all? Not only 
our monareliy and our peerage secure the equality 
on which our unity depends, but it is the spirit of 
the House of Commons itself. The very inequality 
of representation, which is so foolishly complained of, 
is perhaps the very thing which prevents u-< from 
thinking or acting as members for districts. Corn- 
wall elects as many members as all Scotland. But is 
Cornwall better taken care of than Scotland? Few 
trouble their heads about any of your bases, out of 

VOL. 111. 31 




some giddy clubs. Most of those who wish for any 
cli lage, upon any plausible grounds, desire it on dif- 
ferent ideas. 

Your new Constitution is the very reverse of ours 
in its principb ; and I am astonished how any per- 
sons could dream of holding out anything done in 
it as an example for Great Britain. With you there 
is little, or rather no, connection between the last rep- 
resentative and the first constituent. Tlie member 
who goes to the National Assembly is not chosen by 
the people, nor accountable to them. There are 
three elections before he is chosen; two sets of 
magistracy intervene between him and the primary 
assembly, so as to render him, as I have said, an 
ambassador of a state, and not the representative of 
tho people within a state. By this the whole spirit 
of the election is changed; nor can any corrective 
your Constitution-mongers have devised render him 
anything else than what he is. The very attempt to 
do it would inevitably introduce a confusion, if pos- 
sible, more horrid than the present. There is no 
way to make a connection between the original 
constituent and the representative, but by tho cir- 
cuitous means which may lead the candidate to ap- 
ply in the first instance to the primary electors, in 
order that by f.ieir authoritative instructions (and 
something more perhaps) these primary electors may 
force the two succeeding bodies of electors to make 
a choice agreeable to their wishes. But this would 
plainly subvert the whole scheme. It would be to 
pliuige them back into that tumult and confusion 
of popular election, which, by their interposed gra- 
dation of elections, they mean to avoid, and at length 

to risk the whole fortune of the state with those who 





have the least knowledge of it and the least interest 
in it. This is a perpetual dilemma, into wliich they 
are thrown hy the vicious, weak, and contradictory 
principles they have chosen. Unless the people break 
up and level this gradation, it is plain that they do 
not at all substantially elect to the Assembly ; indeed, 
ihey elect as little in appearance as reality. 

What is it we all seek for in an election ? To an- 
swer its real purposes, you must first possess the 
means of knowing the fitness of your man ; and then 
you must retain some hold upon him by personal 
obligation or dependence. For what end are these 
primary electors complimented, or rather mocked, 
with a choice ? They can never know anything of 
the qualities of him that is to serve them, nor has ho 
any obligation whatsoever to them. Of all the pow- 
ers unfit to be delegated by those who have any real 
means of judging, that most peculiarly unfit is what 
relates to a personal choice. In case of abuse, that 
body of primary electors never can call the represen- 
tative to an account for his conduct. He is too far 
removed from them in the chain of representation. 
If he acts improperly at the end of his two years' 
lease, it does not concern him for two years more. 
By the new French Constitution the best and the 
wisest representatives go equally with the worst into 
this Limbiis Fatruvi. Their bottoms are supposed 
foul, and they must go into dock to be refitted. 
Every man who has served in ai> Assembly is inel- 
igible for two years after. Just as these magistrates 
l)egin to learn their trade, like chimney-sweepers, 
they are disqualified for exercising it. Superficial, 
new, petulant acquisition, and interrupted, dronish, 
broken, ill recollection, is to be the destined charac- 


' ' 1 


i r, 




n !! 


'I i 




I I 



ter of all your future governors. Your Constitution 
hfis too much of jealousy to have much of sense in it. 
You consider the breach of trust in the representative 
so principally that you do not at all regard the ques- 
tion of his fitness to execute it. 

This purgatory interval is not unfavorable to a 
faithless representative, who may be as good a can 
vasser as he was a bad governor. In this time ho 
may cabal himself into a superiority over the wisest 
and most virtuous. As, in the end, all the members 
of this elective Constitution are equally fugitive, and 
exist only for the election, they may be no longer the 
same persons who had chosen him, to whom he is 
to J>e responsible when he solicits for a renewal of 
his tru-t. To cull all the secondary electors of the 
commune to account is ridiculous, impracticable, and 
unjust: they may themselves have been deceived in 
their choice, as tlie third set of electors, those of 
the department, may be in theirs. In your election:! 
responsibiUty cannot exist. 

Finding no sort of principle of coherence with each 
other in the nature and constitution of the several 
new republics of France, I considered what cement 
the legislators had provided for them from any ex- 
traneous materials. Their confederations, their spec- 
tacles, their civic feasts, and their enthusiasm I take 
no notice of ; they are nothing but more tricks ; but 
tracing their policy through their actions, I think 1 
can distinguish the arrangements by which they pro- 
pose to hold these republics together. The first is 
the confiscation, with the compulsory papo urrency 
annexed to it; the second is the supremi power of 
the city of Paris ; the third is the general army of 
the state. Of this last I shall reserve what I have 




to say, until I come to consider tlie army as ati bead 

by itself. , . 

As to the operation of the first (the confiscation 
and paper currency) merely as a cement, I cannot 
deny that these, the one depending on the other, may 
for some time compose some sort of cement, if their 
madness and fully in the management, and m the 
tempering of the parts together, does not produce a 
repulsion in the very outset. But allowing to the 
scheme some coherence and some duration, it ap- 
pears to me, that, if, after a while, the confiscation 
Should not be found sufficient to support the paper 
coinage, (as I am morally certain it will not,) then, 
instead of cementing, it will add infinitely to the dis- 
Bociation, distraction, and confusion of these c^.nfed- 
erate republics, both with relation to each othe, and 
to the several parts within themselves. But if the 
confiscation should so far succeed as to sink the pa- 
per currency, the cement is gone with the circula- 
tion. In the mean time its binding force will be very 
uncertain, and it will straiten or relax with every va- 
riation in the credit of the paper. 

One thing only is certain in this scheme, which is 
an effect seemingly collateral, but direct, I have no 
doubt, in the minds of those who conduct this busi- 
ness: that is, its effect in producing an oligarchy m 
every one of the republics. A paper circulation, not 
founded on any real money deposited or engaged for, 
amounting already to fonr-and-forty millions of Lng- 
lish money, and this currency by force substituted in 
the place of the coin of the kingdom, becoming there- 
by the substance of its revenue, as well as the medi- 
um of all its commerc-xl and civil intercourse, must 
put the whole of what power, authority, and influ- 









ence is left, iu any form whatsoever it may assume, 
iuto the hands of the mauajfurs and conductors of 
this circulation. 

Iu England we feel the influence of the Bank, 
tliough it is only tiie centre of a voluntary dealing. 
He knows little, indeed, of the influence of money up- 
on mankind, who does not see the force t 'he man- 
agement of a moneyed conec-n wliioa '. m much 
more extensive, and in its nature so much more de- 
pending on the managers, than any of ours, liut this 
is not merely a money concern. There is anotlier 
member in tlie system inseparably connected witii 
tliis money management. It consists iu tlie means 
of drawing out at discretion portions of the confls- 
cated lands for sa.;,, and carrying on a process 
of continual transmutation of paper into laud and 
land into paper. Wiien we follow this process iu its 
eticcts, we may conceive soinetiiing of the intensity 
of tlie force with which tliis system must operate. 
By tliis means the spirit of money-jobbing and spec- 
ulation goes into the mass of land itself, and incor- 
porates with it. By this kind of operation, that spe- 
cies of property becomes, as it were, volatilized ; it 
assumes an unnatural and monstrous activity, and 
thereby throws into the hands of the several mana- 
gers, principal and subordinate, Parisian and provin- 
cial, all the representative of money, and porliaps a 
full tenth part of all the land in France, which has 
now acquired the worst and most pernicious part of 
the evil of a paper circulation, the greatest possible 
uncertainty in its value. They have reversed the 
Latonian kindness to the landed property of Delos. 
They have sent theirs to be blown about, like the 
light fragments of a wreck, oraa et littora circum. 




The new dealers, l)oing all habitually adventurei-H, 
and withuut any fixed habits or local predilections, will 
purcliaso to job out again, as the market of paper or 
of money or of land shall present an advantage. For 
tliough a holy bishop thinks that agriculture will de- 
rive great advantages from the "■ enlightened'' usurers 
who are to purcliaso the Churcli confiscations, I, wlio 
am not a good, but an old farmer, with groat liumility 
bog leave to tell his late Lordship tliat usury is not a 
tutor of agriculture ; and if the word " enlightened " 
be understood according to tlie new dictionary, as it 
alrays is in your new scliools, I -aniiot conceive how 
a man's not believing in God can teacli him to culti- 
vate the earth witli the least of any additional skill 
or encouragement. '■'■ Dim immortuUbiis sero" said 
an old Roman, when he held one handle of tho 
plough, whilst Death held the other. Tliough you 
were to join in the commission all the directors of 
the two Academies to tlie directors of the Caisne 
d'Uscompte, an old experienced peasant is worth 
the. 1 all. I have got more information upon a curi- 
ous and interesting branch of husbandry, in one -' >rt 
conversation witli an old Carthusian monk, tlian 1 nave 
derived from all tlie bank directors that I have ever 
conversed witli. However, there is no cause for ap- 
prehension from the meddling of money-dealers witli 
rural economy. Tiiese gentlemen arc too wise in 
their generation. At first, perliaps, their tender and 
susceptible imaginations may be captivated with the 
innocent and unprofitable delights of a pastoral life ; 
but in a little time tlicy will find that agriculture is 
a trade much more laborious and much less lucra- 
tive tlian that which they had left. After making its 
panegyric, they will turn their backs on it, like their 



. I. 








V .. 

great precursor and prototype. Tliey may, like him, 
begin by singing, "iftatu* j7/«," — but what will bo 
tlie end ? 

Uaec ubi lorutug fu'nerator Alphlui, 

Jam jam futurus rusticus, 
Omnetn rcletrit Idibus pccuniain, 

Quarit Calcndis ponere. 

They will cultivate the Came cTEylige, under the sa- 
cred auspices of this prelate, with mucli more profit 
than its vineyards and its corn-fields. Thoy will em- 
ploy their talents according to their habits and their 
interests. Thoy will not follow the plougli, whilst 
they can dirunt treasuries and govern provinces. 

Your legi>hit()rs, in everything new, are tlio very 
first who have founded a commonwealth U{»on "•um- 
ing, and infu!-od this spirit into it as its vital breath. 
The great object in these politics is to metamorphoso 
Franco fronj a great kingdom into one great play- 
table, — to turn its inhabitants into a nation of game- 
tutors, — to make speculation as extensive as life, — to 
mix it with all its concerns, — and to divert the whole 
of the hopes and fears of the people from their usual 
channels into the impulses, passions, and supersti- 
tions of those who live on chances. They loudly pro- 
claim their opinion, that tliis their present system of 
a republic cannot possibly exist without this kind of 
gaming fund, and tiiat tiie very tliread of its life is 
spun out of tlie staple of these si)eculations. The old 
gaming in funds was mischievous enough, undoubt- 
edly ; but it was so only to individuals. Even wlien 
it had its greatest extent, in the Mississippi and 
South Sea, it afiectcd but few, comparatively ; where 
it extends furtlier, as in lotteries, the spirit lias but a 
Buigle object. But where the law, which in most cir- 



curastanccs (orhiils, luid in noiio countenances gam- 
ing, is itself dul.iiuchcii, so as to reverse its nuturo 
and policy, and exJlres^ly to force the sulject to ''lis 
destructive table, by bringing the spirit and m jIs 
of gaining into the minUest mutters, and engaging 
cveryboily in it, and in everything, a more dreadful 
epidemic distemper of that kind is sj)read tlmn yet 
has appeared in the world. Witli you a man can 
neither earn nor buy his dinner without a spt-cula- 
tion. What ho receives in the morning will not have 
the same value at night. What ho is compelled to 
take as pay for an old debt will not be received as the 
same, when he comes to pay a debt contracted by 
himself; nor will it be the same, when by prompt 
payment be would avoid contracting any debt at all. 
Industry mu^t wither away. Economy must ha driv- 
en from your country. Careful provision will have 
no existence. Wlio will labor without knowing the 
amount of his pay? Wlio will study to iiicrcaso 
what none can estimate? Who will accumulate, 
when he does not know the value of what he saves ? 
If you abstract it from its xises in gaming, to aceumu- 
lato your jjapcr wealth would be, not tlie providence 
of a man, but the distempered instinct of a jackdaw. 

The truly melancholy part of the policy of sys- 
tematically making a nation of gamesters is this,— 
that, though all are forced to play, few can understand 
the game, and fewer still are in a condition to avail 
themselves of tliat knowledge. The many nnist ba 
the dupes of the few wlio conduct the machine of 
these speculations. What elTect it nnist have on the 
country-people is visible. The townsman can calcu- 
late from day to day ; not so the inhabitant uf tiie 
country. When the peasant first brings his corn to 

V* ' 

, -4 I; 

I , 





market, the magistrate in the towns obliges him to 
take the assignat at par; when he goes to tlio shop 
with this money, he finds it seven per cent the 
worse for crossing the way. This market he will not 
readily resort to again. The towns-people will be 
inflamed ; they will force the country-people to bring 
their corn. Resistance will begin, and the murders 
of Paris and St. Denis may be renewed through all 

What signifies the empty compliment paid to the 
country, by giving it, perhaps, more than its share in 
the theory of your representation ? Where have you 
placed the real power over moneyed and landed cir- 
culation ? Wliere have you placed the means of rais- 
ing and falling the value of every man's freehold ? 
Those whose operations can take from or add ten 
per cent to the possessions of every man in France 
must be the masters of every man in France. The 
whole of the power obtained by this Revolution will 
settle in the towns among the burjjhers, and the 
moneyed directors who lead them. Tlie lauded gen- 
tleman, the yeoman, and the peasant have, none of 
them, habits or inclinations or experience which can 
lead them to any share in this the sole source of 
power and influence now left in France. The very 
nature of a country life, the very nature of landed 
property, in all the occupations and all the pleasures 
they afford, render combination and arrangement 
(the sole way of procuring and exerting influence) 
in a manner impossible amongst country-people. 
Combine them by all the art you can, and all the 
industry, they are always dissolving into individual- 
ity. Anything in the nature of incorporation is al- 
most impracticable amongst them. Hope, fear, alarm, 



jealousy, the ephemerous talc that does its business 
and dies in a day, all these things, which are the reins 
and spurs by which leaders check or urge the minds 
of followers, are not easily employed, or hardly at all, 
amongst scattered people. They assemble, they arm, 
they act, with the utmost difficulty, and at the great- 
est charge. Their efforts, if ever they can bo com- 
menced, cannot be sustained. They cannot proceed 
systematically. If tlie country-gentlemen attempt an 
influence througli the mere income of their property, 
what is it to that of those who have ten times their 
income to sell, and who can ruin their property by 
bringing their plunder to meet it at market ? If the 
landed man wishes to mortgage, he falls the value of 
his land and raises the value of assignats. He aug- 
ments the power of his enemy by the very means he 
must take to contend with him. The country-gentle- 
man, therefore, the officer by sea and land, the man 
of liberal views and habits, attached to no profession, 
will be as completely excluded from the government 
of his country as if he were legislatively proscribed. 
It is obvious, that, in tlie towns, all the tilings which 
conspire against the country-gentleman combine in 
favor of the money manager and director. In towns 
combination is natural. The habits of burghers, tlieir 
occupations, their diversion, their business, tlieir idle- 
ness, continually bring them into mutual contact. 
Their virtues and their vices are sociable ; they are 
always in garrison; and they come embodied and 
hall-disciplined into the hands of those wlio mean to 
form them for civil or military action. 

All these considerations leave no doubt on my 
mind, that, if this montier of a Constitution can con- 
tinue, France will be wholly governed by the agita- 






i i 




tors in corporations, by societies in the towns, formed 
of directors in assiguats, and trustees for the sale of 
Church lands, attorneys, agents, money-jobbers, spec- 
ulators, and adventurers, composing an ignoble oli- 
garchy, founded ou the destruction of the crown, the 
Church, the nobility, and the people. Here end all 
the deceitful dreams and visions of the equality and 
rights of men. In " the Serbonian bog " of this base 
oligarchy they are all absorbed, sunk, and lost for- 

Though human eyes cannot trace them, one ^^ould 
bo tempted to think some great offences in France 
must cry to Heaven, which has thought fit to punish 
it with a subjection to a vile and inglorious domina- 
tion, in which no comfort or compensation is to bo 
found in any even of those false splendors which, 
playing about other tyrannies, prevent mankind from 
feeling themselves dishonored even whilst they are 
oppressed. I must coniess I am touched with a sor- 
row mixed with some indignation, at the conduct of 
a few men, once of great rank, and still of great char- 
acter, who, deluded with specious names, have en- 
gaged in a business too deep for the line of their 
understanding to fathom, — who have lent their fair 
reputation and the authority of their high-sounding 
names to the designs of men with whom they could 
not be acquainted, and have thereby made their very 
virtues operate to the ruin of their country. 

So far as to the first cementing principle. 

The second material of cement for their new repub- 
lic is the superiority of the city of Paris ; and this, 
I admit, is strongly connected with the other cementr 
ing principle of paper circulation and confiscation. 
It is in this part of the project we must look for the 



cause of the destruction of all the old bounds of prov- 
inces and jurisdictions, ecclesiastical and secular, and 
the dissohition of all ancient combinations of things, 
as well as the formation of so many small unconnect- 
ed repxiblics. The power of the city of Paris is evi- 
dently one great spring of all their politics. It is 
through the power of Paris, now become the centre 
and focus of jobbing, that the leaders of this faction 
direct, or rather command, the whole legislative and 
the whole executive government. Everything, tlierc- 
fore, must be done which can confirm the authority 
of that city over the other republics. Paris is com- 
pact ; she lias an enormous strength, wholly dispro- 
portioned to the force of any of the square republics ; 
and this strength is collected and condensed within 
a narrow compass. Paris has a natural and easy 
connection of its parts, which will not be affected by 
any scheme of a geometri^",l constitution ; nor does 
it much signify whetho: ; proportion of represen- 
tation be more or less, :• .; i- has the whole draught 
of fishes in its drag-ni . ; a other divisions of the 
kingdom, being hacklei i.^a torn to pieces, and sepa- 
rated from all their habitual means and even princi- 
ples of union, cannot, for some time at least, confed- 
erate against her. Nothing was to be left in all the 
subordinate members, but weakness, disconnection, 
and confusion. To confirm this part of the plan, 
the Asscnxbly has lately come to a resolution that 
no two of tlicir republics shall have the same com- 

To a person who takes a view of the whole, the 
strength of Paris, thus formed, will appear a system 
of general weakness. It is boasted that the geomet- 
rical policy has been adopted, that all local ideas 




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should be stink, and that tlie people should be no 
longer Gascons, Plcards, Bretons, Normans, — but 
Frenchmen, witli one country, one heart, and one 
Assembly. But, instead of being all Frenchmen, the 
greater likelihood is that the inhabitants of that re- 
gion will shortly have no country. No man ever was 
attached by a sense of pride, partiality, or real affec- 
tion, to a description of square measurement. He 
never will plory in belonging to the chequer No. 71, 
or to any other badgu-ticket. We begin our pulilic 
affections in our families. No ccld relation is a zeal- 
ous citizen. We pass on to our neighborhoods, and 
our habitual provincial connections. These are inns 
and resting-places. Such divisions of our country as 
have been formed by habit, and not by a sudden jerk 
of authority, were so many little images of the great 
country, in which the heart found something which it 
could fill. The love to the whole is not extinguislied 
by tliis subordinate partiality. Perhaps it is a sort 
of elemental training to those higher and more large 
regards by which alone men come to be affected, as 
with their own concern, in the prosperity of a king- 
dom so extensive as tliat of France. In that general 
territory itself, as in the old name of Provinces, the 
citizens are interested from old prejudices and unrea- 
soned habits, and not on account of the geometric 
propci-ties of its figure. The power and preemi- 
nence of Paris does certainly press down and hold 
these republics together as long as it lasts : but, for 
the reasons I have already given you, I think it can 
not last very long. 

Passing from the civil creating and the civil ce- 
menting principles of this Constitution to the Nation- 
al Assembly, which is to appear and act as sovereign, 



WO sec a body in its constitution with every possible 
power and no possible external control. Wo see a 
body without ftindamental laws, without established 
maxims, without respected rules of proceeding, which 
nothing can keep firm to any system whatsoever. 
Their idea of their powers is always taken at the ut- 
most stretch of legislative competency, and their ex- 
amples for common cases ft-om the exceptions of the 
most urgent necessity. The future is to be in most 
respects like the present Assembly ; but, by the mode 
of the new elections and the tendency of the new cir- 
culations, it will be purged of the small degree of 
internal control existing in a minority chosen origi- 
nally from various interests, and preserving something 
of their spirit. If possible, the next Assembly must 
be worse than the present. The present, by destroy- 
ing and altering everything, will leave to their suc- 
cessors apparently nothing popular to do. They will 
be roused by emulation and example to enterprises 
the boldest and the most absurd. To suppose such 
an Assembly sitting in perfect quietude is ridiculous. 
Your all-sufficient legislators, in their hurry to do 
everything at once, have forgot one thing that seems 
essential, and which, I believe, never has been before, 
in the theory or the practice, omitted by any project- 
or of a republic. They have forgot to constitute a 
senate, or something of that nature and character. 
Never, before this time, was heard of a body politic 
composed of one legislative and active assembly, and 
its ex'^-'utive officers, without such a council : with- 
out something to which foreign states might connect 
themselves, — something to which, in the ordinary 
detail of government, the people could look up, — 
something which might give a bias and steadiness, 



1 .11 







f 1 


and preserve something like consistency in the pro- 
ceedings of state. Such a body kings generally have 
as a council. A monarchy may exist without it ; but 
it seems to be in the very essence of a republican 
government. It holds a sort of middle place between 
the supreme power exercised by the people, or imme- 
diately delegated from them, and the mere executive. 
Of this there are no traces in your Constitution ; and 
in providing nothing of this kind, your Solons and 
Numas have, as much as in anything else, discovered 
a sovereign incapacity. 

Let us now turn our eyes to what they have done 
towards tlie fornation of an executive power. For 
this they have chosen a degraded king. Tliis their 
first executive officer is to be a machine, without any 
sort of deliberative discretion in any one act of his 
function. At best, he is but a channel to convey to 
the National Assembly such matter as may import 
that body to know. If he had been made the exclu- 
sive channel, the power would not have been with- 
out its importance, though infinitely perilous to those 
who would choose to exercise it. But public intelli- 
gence and statement of facts may pass to the As- 
sembly with equal authenticity through any other 
conveyance. As to the means, therefore, of giving a 
direction to measures by the statement of an author- 
ized reporter, this office of intelligence is as nothing. 

To consider the French scheme of an executive 
officer, in its two natural divisions of civil and politi- 
cal. — In the first it must be observed, that, according 
to the new Constitution, the higher parts of judica- 
ture, in either of its lines, are not in the king. Tiie 
king of France is not the fountain of justice. Tlie 
judges, neither the original nor the appellate, are of 

i ^t 





his nomination. He neither proposes the candidates 
por has a negative on the choice. He is not even 
the public prosecutor. He serves only as a notary, 
to authenticate the choice made of the judges in the 
several districts. By his oflScers he is to execute 
tlieir sentence. When we look into tlie tnie nature 
of his authority, he appears to be nothing more than 
a chief of bumbailifis, sergeants-at-mace, catchpoles, 
jailers, and hangmen. It is impossible to place any- 
thing called royalty in a more degrading point of 
viaw. A thousand times better it had been for the 
dignity of this unhappy prince, that he had nothing 
at all to do with the administration of justice, de- 
prived as he is of all that is venerable and all that 
is consolatory in that function, without power of 
originating any process, without a power of suspen- 
sion, mitigation, or pardon. Everything in justice 
that is vile and odious is thrown upon him. It was 
not for nothing that the Assembly has been at such 
pains to remove the stigma from certain offices, when 
they were resolved to place the person who had lately 
been their king in a situation but one degree above 
the executioner, and in an office nearly of the same 
quality. It is not in Nature, that, situated as the 
king of the French now is, he can respect himself 
or can be respected by others. 

View this new executive officer on the side of his 
political capacity, as he acts under the orders of the 
National Assembly. To execute laws is a royal of- 
fice ; to execute orders is not to be a king. How- 
ever, a political executive magistracy, though merely 
such, is a great trust. It is a trust, indeed, that has 
much depending upon its faithful and diligent per- 
formance, both in the person presiding in it and in 



; il 






all its subordinates. Means of performing this duty 
ought to be given by regulation; and dis^positions 
towards it ought to be infused by the circumstances 
attendant on the trust. It ought to be environed 
with dignity, authority, and consideration, and it 
ought to lead to glory. The office of execution is 
an office of exertion. It is not from impotence we 
are to expect the tasks of power. What sort of 
person is a king to command executory service, wlio 
has no means whatsoever to reward it: — not in a 
permanent office ; not in a grant of land ; no, not 
in a pension of fifty pounds a year; not in the 
vainest and most trivial title ? In France the king 
is no more the fountain of honor than he is the 
fountain of justice. All rewards, all distinctions, are 
in other hands. Those who serve the king can be ac- 
tuated by no natural motive but fear, — by a fear of 
everything except their master. His functions of in- 
ternal coercion are as odious as those which he exer- 
cises in the department of justice. If relief is to be 
given to any municipality, the Assembly gives it. 
If troops are to be sent to reduce them to obedi- 
ence to the Assembly, the king is to execute the 
order ; and upon every occasion he is to be spattered 
over with the blood of his people. He has no nega- 
tive ; yet his name and authority is used to enforce 
every harsh decree. Nay, he must concur in the 
butchery of those who shall attempt to free him from 
his imprisonment, or show the slightest attachment to 
his person or to his ancient authority. 

Executive magistracy ought to be constituted in 
such a manner that those who compose it should 
be disposed to love and to venerate tliose whom they 
are bound to obey. A purposed neglect, or, what is 




worse, a literal, but perverse and malignant obedienco, 
must be the ruin of the wisest counsels. In vain 
will the law attempt to anticipate or to follow sucli 
studied neglects and fraudulent attentions. To make 
them act zealously is not in the competence of law. 
Kings, even such as are truly kings, may and ought 
to bear the freedom of subjects that are obnoxious 
to them. They may, too, without derogating from 
themselves, bear even the authority of such persons, 
if it promotes their service. Louis tlie Tlurtoenth 
mortally hated the Cardinal de Richelieu ; but his 
support of that minister against his rivals was the 
source of all the glory of his reign, and the solid 
foundation of his throne itself. Louis the Four- 
teenth, when come to the throne, did not love the 
Cardinal Mazarin ; but for his interests he preserved 
him in power. When old, he detested Louvois ; but 
for years, whilst he faithfully served his greatness, he 
endured his person. When George the Second took 
Mr. Pitt, who certainly was not agreeable to him, 
into his councils, he did nothing which could humble 
a wise sovereign. But these ministers, who were chos- 
en by affairs, not by affections, acted in the name of 
and in trust for kings, and not as their avowed con- 
stitutional and ostensible masters. I think it impos- 
sible that any king, when he has recovered his first 
terrors, can cordially infuse vivacity and vigor into 
measures which he knows to be dictated by tliose 
who, he must be persuaded, are in the highest degree 
ill affected to his person. Will any ministers, who 
serve such a king (or whatever he may be called) 
with but a decent appearance of respect, cordially 
obey the orders of those whom but the other day in 
his name they had committed to the Bastile? will 

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1 1 



they obey the orders of those whom, whilst they were 
exercising despotic justice upon them, they conceived 
they were treating with lenity, and for whom in a 
prison they thought they had provided an asylum? 
If you expect such obedience, amongst your other in- 
novations and regenerations, you ought to make a 
revolution in Nature, and provide a new constitution 
for the human mind: otherwise your supreme gov- 
ernment cannot harmonize with its executory system. 
There arc cases in which we cannot take up with 
names and abstractions. You may call half a dozen 
leading individuals, whom we have reason to fear and 
hate, the nation. It makes no other difference than 
to make us fear and hate them the more. If it had 
been thought justifiable and expedient to irake such 
a revolution by such means and through such per- 
sons as you have made yours, it would have been 
more wise to have completed the business of the fifth 
and sixth of October. The new executive officer 
would then owe his situation to those 'o are his 
creators as well as his masters ; and ho might be 
bound in interest, in the society of crime, and (if in 
crimes there could be virtues) in gratitude, to serve 
those who had promoted him to a place of great lu- 
cre and great sensual indulgence, — and of something 
more: for more he must have received from those 
who certainly would not have limited an aggrandized 
creature as they have done a submitting antagonist. 

A king circumstanced as the present, if he is to- 
tally stupefied by his misfortunes, so as to think it 
not the necessity, but the premium and privilege of 
life, to eat and sleep, without any regard to glory, can 
never be fit for the office. If he feels as men com- 
monly feel, he must be sensible that an office so cir- 




cumstant3d is one in which he can obtain no fame or 
reputation. He has no generous interest that can 
excite him to action. At best, his conduct will bo 
passive and defensive. To inferior people such an of- 
fice might be matter of honor. But to bo raised to 
it and to descend to it are different things, and sug- 
gest different sentiments. Does he realli, name tlie 
ministers? They ^^;'i have a sympathy with him. 
Are they forced upon him? The whole busmess 
bet- m them and the nominal king will be mutual 
CO- fraction. In all other countries the office of 
D- isters of state is of the highest dignity. In 
France it is full of peril, and incapable of glory. 
Rivals, however, they will have in thuir nothingness, 
whilst shallow ambition exists in the world, or the 
desire of a miserable salary is an incentive to shortr 
sighted avarice. Those competitors of the minister» 
are enabled by your Constitution to attack them in 
their vital parts, whilst they have not the means of 
repellincr their charges in any other than the degrad- 
ing character of culprits. The ministers of state in 
France are the only persons in that country who are 
incapable of a share in the national councils. AV hat 
ministers ! What councils ! What a nation . - But 
they are responsible. It is a poor service that is to 
be had from responsibility. The elevation of mind to 
be derived from fear will never make a nation glo- 
rious Responsibility prevents crimes. It makes all 
attempts against the laws dangerous. But for a prin- 
ciple of active and zealous service, none but idiots 
could think of it. Is the conduct of a war to be 
trusted to a man who may abhor its principle, — who, 
in every step he may take to render it successful, 
confirms the power of those by whom he is oppressed? 





i i 





■I ) 






i ?l. 


.1 t=. 




Will foreign states seriously treat with him who has 
no [>rerugativo of peace or war, — no, not ^o much as 
in a single vote by himself or his minister--, or by any 
one whom he can possibly influence ? A state of con- 
tempt is not a state for a prince : bettor got rid of 
him at once. 

I know it will bo said that these humors in the 
court and executive government will continue only 
through this generation, and that the king has been 
brought to declare the dauphin shall be educated in 
a conformity to his situation. If he is made to con- 
form to his situation, he will have no education at all. 
His training must be worse even than that of an arbi- 
trary monarch. If ho reads, — whether he reads or 
not, some good or evil genius will tell him his ances- 
tors were kings. Thenceforward his object must be 
to assert himself and to avenge his parents. This 
you will say is not his duty. That may be ; but it is 
Nature; and whilst you pique Nature against you, 
you do unwisely to trust to duty. In this futile 
scheme of polity, the state nurses in its bosom, for 
the present, a source uf weakness, perplexity, coun- 
teraction, inefficiency, and decay ; and it prepares the 
means of its final ruin. In short, I see nothing in 
the executive force (I cannot call it authority) that 
has even an appearance of vigor, or tha is the 
smallest degree of just correspondence or ^yllllnetry 
or amicable relation with the supreme power, either 
as it now exists, or as it is planned for the 'uture 

You have settled, by an economy as perverted as 
the policy, two* establishments of government. — one 

* In reality three, to reckon the provincial republican establish- 



real, one fictitious: both maiiitaiuoc 
peuse; but the fictitious 
Sufh a raachiiio as the la 

il at a vast e»- 

k, th.' grcatei-l. 

wurtli lio grt-ar** 

rorbitaai ; and nei- 

of its wheels. Tlio expense i.> e 
thor the show nor tlio use do^.■rvo th.. tm . part ot 
the charge. -Oh! ' ut 1 don l du>co lu tl. ^ Ul- 
ents of the legislators: i don't allow, as I ouiiht to 
do, for necessity. Their scheme of executive force 
was not their choice. This p.- mt must ..kept. 
The people would not consent to purl with it — Kigut: 
I understand you. You do, in spite of y..ur Rrand 
theories, to whicl you would have heav. , aud earth 
to bend, vou do uiow how to conform yourselv.-s lu 
the nam,' and c.rcu.u^tances of tlungs. But when 
you were .bliged tw eontbrm thus lar to circumstan- 
ces, you ..ught t.. luive carried v.ur subnussion far- 
ther, and to have made, what yo.i were obhged to 
take, a proper instrui.-nt, and um !ul to its end- 
That was in vour power. For instance, am ;ig mau,. 
others, it was in y.ur power to leavo to your king 
the right f peace and war.- What! to to the 
executive ni.gistrat.- the most dangcrou> ot all [ re- 
ro«ratives? — I know none more dai.'-'cru.i-^; nor any 
one :nore necessary to be so trusto I ) not say 
that this p-rogativ nght to be trus. N. your km?, 
unless he ioyed d.-r auxiliary trusts along with n 
which he u,3es not now bold. But, f Iw di- posses, 
thoni, baz rdon^ is they are undoubt. lly. advant ges 
would an^e frui.^ such a Constitution, more than com- 
pcusatmgtl. .^k. There is .0 other way of ke^ping 
the several p. ntatcs ot Europe from iutrigu....^ dis- 
! actly aud pc -onally with the members of yo ir ksr 
,emblv, from ..termeddling in all youi one .s, and 
frsueiitiug, in the heart of your country, the i -st per- 




I 1 

f i ' 

uicious of all factions, — factions in the interest and 
under the direction of foreign powers. From that 
worst of evils, thank God, we are still free. Your 
skill, if you had any, would be well employed to find 
out indirect Lorrectives and controls upon this peril- 
ous trust. If you did not like those which in England 
we have chosen, your leaders might have exerted 
their abilities in contriving better. If it were neces- 
sary to exemplify the consequences of such an execu- 
tive government as yours, in the management of great 
affairs, I should refer you to the late reports of M. de 
Montmorin to the National Assembly, and all the 
other proceedings relative to the differences between 
Great Britain and Spain. It would be treating your 
understanding with disrespect to point them out to 

I hear that the persons who are called ministers 
have signified an intention of resigning their places. 
I am rather astonished that they have not resigned 
long since. For the universe I would not have stood 
in the situation in which they have been for this last 
twelvemonth. They wished well, I take it for grant- 
ed, to the Revolution. Let this fact be as it may, 
they could not, placed as they were upon an emi- 
nence, though an eminence of humiliation, but be 
the first to see collectively, and to feel each in his 
own department, the evils which have been produced 
by that Revolution. In every step which they took, 
or forbore to take, they must have felt the degraded 
situation of their country, and their utter incapacity 
of serving it. They are in a species of subordinate 
servitude in whicl; no men before them were ever 
seen. Without confidence from their sovereign on 
whom they were forced, or from the Assembly who 

' 1' 




forced them upon him, all the noble functions of 
their office are executed by committees of tlie Assem- 
bly, without any regard whatsoever to their personal 
or their official authority. They are to execute, with- 
out power; they are to be responsible, without discre- 
tion ; they are to deliberate, without choice, ii their 
puzzled situation, under two sovereigns, over neither 
of whom they have any influence, they must act in 
such a manner as (in effect, whatever they may in- 
tend) sometimes to betray the one, sometimes the 
other, and always to betray themselves. Such has 
been their situation ; such must be the situation of 
those who succeed them. I have much respect, and 
many good wishes, for M. Necker. I am obliged to 
him for attentions. I thought, when his enemies 
had driven him from Versailles, that his exile was 
a subject of most serious congratulation. Sed multce 
urbes et publica vota vicerunt. He is now sitting on 
the ruins of the finances and of the monarchy of 


A great deal more might be observed on the strange 
constitution of the executory part of the new govern- 
ment; but fatigue must give bounds to the discussion 
of subjects which in themselves have hardly any lim- 

Ab little genius and talent am I able to perceive in 
the plan of judicature formed by the National Assem- 
bly. According to their invariable course, the fram- 
ers of your Constitution have begun wiih the utter 
abolition of the parliaments. These venerable bod- 
ies, like the rest of the old government, stood in need 
of reform, even though there should be no change 
made in the monarchy. They required several more 
alterations to adapt them to the system of a free Cou- 


]i t 



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stitution. But they had particulars in their constitu- 
tion, and those not a few, which deserved approbation 
from the wise. They possessed one fundamental ex- 
cellence : they were independent. The most doubt- 
ful circumstance attendant on their office, that of its 
being vendible, contributed, however, to this inde- 
pendency of character. They held for life. Indeed, 
they may be said to have held by inheritance. Ap- 
pointed by the monarch, they were considered as 
nearly out of his power. The most determined ex- 
ertions of that authority against t. -^-Ji only showed 
their radical independence. They cc nposed perma- 
nent bodies politic, constituted to resist arbitrary 
innovation ; and from that corporate constitution, 
and from most of their forms, they were well calcu- 
lated to afford both certainty and stability to the 
laws. They had been a safe asylum to secure these 
lavs, in all the revolutions of humor and opinion. 
They had saved that sacred deposit of the country 
during the reigns of arbitrary princes and tlie strug- 
gles of arbitrary factions. They kept alive the mem- 
ory and record of the '■Constitution. They were the 
groat security to private property; which might be 
said (when personal liberty had no existence) to be, 
in fact, as well guarded in France as in any other 
country. Whatever is supreme in a state ought to 
have, as much as possible, its judicial authority so 
constituted as not only not to depend upon it, but 
in some sort to balance it. It ought to give a secu- 
rity to its justice against its power. It ought vO make 
its judicature, as it were, something exterior to the 


These parliaments had furnished, not the best 
certainly, but some considerable corrective to the 




excesses and vices of the monarchy. Such an inde- 
pendent judicature was ten times more necessary 
when a democracy became the absolute power of the 
country. In that Constitution, elective, temporary, 
local judges, such as you have contrived, exercismg 
their dependent functions in a narrow .ociety, must 
be the worst of all tribunals. In them it will be vam 
to look for any appearance of justice towards stran- 
ears, towards the obnoxious rinh. towards the minor- 
fty of routed parties, towards all those who m the 
election have supported misuccessful candidates. It 
will be impossible to keep the new tribunals clear of 
the worst spirit of faction. All contrivances by ba- 
lot we know experimentally to be vam and childish 
to prevent a discovery of inchnations Where they 
may the best answer the purposes of concealmen , 
they answer to produce suspicion, and this is a still 
more mischievous cause of partiality. 

If the pariiaments hnd been preserved, instead ot 
being dissolved at so ruinous a change to the nation, 
thoy might have served in this new commonwealth, 
perhaps not precisely the same, (I do not mean an 
exact parallel,) but near the same purposes as he 
court and senate of Areopagus did in Athons : that 
is, as one of the balances and correctives to the evils 
of a light and unjust democracy. Every .me knows 
that this tribunal was the great stay of that state ; 
every one knows with what care it was upheld, and 
with what a religious awe it was consecrated. Ihe 
parliaments were not wholly free from faction, I ad- 
mit ; but this evil was exterior and accidental, and not 
80 much the vice of their constitution itselt as it must 
be in your new contrivance of sexennial elective judi- 
catories. Several English commend the abolition of 


' s 







the old tribunals, as supposing that they determined 
everything by bribery and corruption. But they have 
stood the test of monarchic and republican scrutiny. 
The court was well disposed to prove corruption on 
those bodies, when they were dissolved in 1771; 
those who have again dissolved them would have 
done the same, if they could ; but both inquisitions 
having failed, I conclude that gross pecuniary corrup- 
tion must have been rather rare amongst them. 

It would have been prudent, along with the par- 
liaments, to preserve their ancient power of register- 
ing, and of remonstratiiig at least upon, all the decrees 
of the National Assembly, as they did upon those 
which passed in the time of the monarchy. It would 
be a means of squaring the occasional decrees of a de- 
mocracy to some principles of general jurisprudence. 
The vice of the ancient democracies, and one cause 
of their ruin, was, that they ruled, as you do, Viy oc- 
casional decrees, psephismaia. This practice soon 
broke in upon the tenor and consistency of the laws ; 
it abated the respect of the people towards them, 
and totally destroyed them in the end. 

Your vesting the power of remonstrance, which, 
in the time of the monarchy, existed in the Parliar 
ment of Paris, in your principal executive officer, 
whom, in spite of common sense, you persevere in 
calling king, is the height of absurdity. You ought 
never to suffer remonstrance 'from him who is to exe- 
cute. This is to understand neither council nor exe- 
cution, neither authority nor obedience. Tlie person 
whom you call king ought not to have this power, 
or he ought to have more. 

Your present arrangement is strictly judicial. In- 
stead of imitating your monarchy, and seating your 

ii^j ,; 



judges on a bench of independence, your object is to 
reduce them to the most blind obedience. As you 
have changed all things, you have invented new prin- 
ciples of order. You first appoint judges, who, I sup- 
pose, are to determine accordhig to law, and then you 
let them know, that, at some time or other, you in- 
tend to give them some law by which they are to 
determine. Any studies which they have made (if 
any tliey have made) are to be useless to them. But 
to supply these studies, they are to be sworn to obey 
all the rules, orders, and instructions which from 
time to time they are to receive from the National 
Assembly. These if they submit to, they leave no 
ground of law to the subject. They become complete 
and most dangerous instruments in the hands of the 
governing power, which, in the midst of a cause, or 
on the prospect of it, may wholly change the rule of 
decision. If ihese orders of the National Assembly 
come to be contrary to the will of the people who 
locally choose those judges, such confusion must hap- 
pen as is terrible to think of. For the judges owe 
their place to the local authority, and the com- 
mands they are sworn to obey come from those who 
have no share in their appointment. In the mean 
time they have the example of the court of Chdtelet 
to encourage and guide them in the exercise of their 
functions. That court is to try criminals sent to it 
by the National Assembly, or brought before it by 
other courses of delation. They sit under a guard 
to save their own lives. They know not by what law 
they iudgo, nor under what authority thoy act, nor 
bv what tenure they hold. It is thought that they 
are sometimes obliged to condemn at peril of their 
lives. Tliis is not perhaps certain, nor can it be as- 


- M 

■\ : 

'X . 


4: III 







k> I I- 

cortained ; but when they acquit, we know they have 
seen the persons whom they discharge, with perfect 
impunity to the actors, hanged at the door of their 

The Assembly, indeed, promises that they will form 
a body of law, which shall be short, simple, clear, 
and so forth. That is, by their short laws, they will 
leave much to the discretion of the judge, whilst they 
have exploded the authority of all the learning which 
could make judicial discretion (a thing perilous at 
best) deserving the appellation of a sound discretion. 

It is curious to observe, that the administrative 
bodies are carefully exempted from the jurisdiction 
of these new tribunals. That is, those persons are 
exempted from the power of the laws who ought to 
be the most entirely submitted to them. Those who 
execute public pecuniary trusts ought of all men to 
be the most strictly held to their duty. One would 
have thought that it must have been among your ear- 
liest cares, if you did not mean that those administra- 
tive bodies should be real, sovereign, independent 
states, to form an awful tribunal, like your late 
parliaments, or like our King's Bench, where all cor- 
porate officers might obtain protection in the legal 
exercise of their functions, and would find coercion, 
if they trespassed against their legal duty. But tho 
cause of the exemption is plain. These administra- 
tive bodies are the great instruments of the present 
leaders in their progress through democracy to oli- 
garchy. They must therefore be put above the law. 
It will be said that the legal tribunals which you 
have made are unfit to coerce them. They are, un- 
doubtedly. They are unfit for any rational purpose. 
It will be said, too, that the administrative bodies will 




be accountable to the general Assembly. This, I fear, 
is talking without much consideration of the nature 
of that Assembly or of these corporations. However, 
to be subject to the pleasure of that Assembly is not 
to be subject to law, either for protection or for con- 

This establishment of judges as yet wants some- 
thing to its completion. It is to be crowned by a 
new tribunal. This is to be a grand state judicature ; 
and it is to judge of crimes committed against the 
nation, that is, against the power of the Assembly. 
It seems as if they had something in their view of the 
nature of the high court of justice erected in England 
during the time of the great usurpation. As thay 
have not yet finished this part of tlie scheme, it is 
impossible to form a direct judgment upon it. How- 
ever, if great care is not taken to form it in a spirit 
very different from that which has guided them in 
their proceedings relative to state offences, this tribu- 
nal, subservient to their inquisition, the Committee of 
Besearch, will extinguish the last sparks of liberty in 
France, and settle the most dreadful and arbitrary 
tyranny ever known in any nation. If tliey wish to 
give to this tribunal any appearance of liberty and 
justice, they must not evoke from or send to it the 
causes relative to their own members, at their pleas- 
ure. They must also remove the seat of that tribu- 
nal out of the republic of Paris.* 

Has more wisdom been displayed in the constitu- 
tion of your army than what is discoverable in your 
plan of judicature ? The able arrangement of tiiis 
part is the more difficult, and requires the greater 

• For further elncidations npon the subject of all these judicatuiei- 
ond of the Committee of Research, see M. de Calonne's work. 

•i il 

, ii 








! 1 I 

t » 




skill and attention, not only as a great concern in it- 
self, but as it is the third cementing principle in the 
new body of republics which you call the French na- 
tion. Truly, it is not easy to divine what that army 
may become at last. You have voted a very large 
one, and on good appointments, at least fully equal 
to your apparent means of payment. But what is 
the principle of its discipline ? or whom is it to obey ? 
You have got the wolf by the ears, and 1 wish you 
joy of the happy position in which you have chosen 
to place yourselves, and in which you are well cir- 
cumstanced for a free deliberation relatively to that 
army, or to anything else. 

The minister and secretary of state for the War De- 
partment is M. de La Tour du Pin. This gentleman, 
like his colleagues in administration, is a most zeal- 
ous assertor of the Revolution, and a sanguine admir- 
er of the new Constitution which originated in that 
event. His statement of facts relative to the mili- 
tary of France is important, not only from his official 
and personal authority, but because it displays very 
clearly the actual condition of the arn^;^ in France, 
and because it throws light on the principles upon 
which the Assembly proceeds in the administration 
of this critical object. It may enable us to form 
some judgment how far it may be expedient in this 
country to imitate the martial policy of France. 

M. de La Tour du Pin, on the fourth of last June, 
comes to give an account ^f the state of his depart- 
ment, as it exists under the auspices of the National 
Assembly. No man knows it so well; no man can 
express it better. Addressing himself to the National 
Assembly, he says, — 

" His Majesty has this day sent me to apprise you 

\%- i 





of the multiplied disorders of which every day he re- 
ceives tlie most distressing intelligence. Tl»o army 
[le corps militaire'] threatens to full into the most tur- 
bulent anarchy. Entire regiments have darod to vio- 
late at once the respect due to the laws, to tlio king, 
to the order established by your decrees, and to the 
oaths which they have taken with the most awful so- 
lemnity. Compelled by my duty to give you infor- 
mation of these excesses, my heart bleeds, when I 
consider who they are that have committed them. 
Those against whom it is not in my power to with- 
hold the most grievous complaints are a part of that 
very soldiery which to this day have been so full of 
iionor and loyalty, and with whom for iuty years I 
have lived the comrade and the friend. 

» What incomprehensible spirit of delirium and de- 
lusion lias all at once led them a^<t!•;\y ? Whilst you 
are indefitigable in establishing uniformity in the 
empire and moulding the wiiolo into one coherent 
and CO ^tent body, whilst the French are taught 
by you c once the respect which the laws owe to the 
rights 01 .lan and that which tlie citizens owe to the 
laws, the administration of the army presents nothing 
but disturbance and confusion. I see in more than 
one corps the bonds of discipline relaxed or broken, — 
the most unheard-of pretensions av(jwed directly and 
without any disguise, — the ordinances without force, 
— the chiefs without authority, — the military chest 
and tlie colors carried off,— the authority of the king 
himself [risum teneatis'] proiidly defied, — the officers 
despised, degraded, threatened, driven away, and 
some of them prisoners ui the midst of their corps, 
dragging on a precancus life in the bosom of disgust 
and'humiliatiou. To fill up the measure of all these 









I • 


\% 1? 





horrors, the commandants of places have had their 
throats cut under the eyes and ahnost in tliL' arras 
of their own soldiers. 

" These evils are great ; but they are not the worst 
consequences which may be produced by such mili- 
tary insurrections. Sooner or later they may men- 
ace tlie nation itself. The nature of things requires 
that the army should never act but as an instrument. 
The moment tliat, erecting itself into a deliberate 
body, it shall act according to its own resolutions, 
the government, be it what it may, will immediately de- 
generate into a military democracy : a species of polit- 
ical monster which has always ended by devouring 
those who have produced it. 

" After all this, who must not be alarmed at the ir- 
regular consultations and turbulent committees form- 
ed in some regiments by the common soldiers and 
non-commissioned officers, without the knowledge, 
or even in contempt of the authority, of their supe- 
riors ? — although the presence and concurrence of 
tliose superiors could give no authority to such mon- 
strous democratic assemblies [cornices].^'' 

It is not necessary to add much to this finished pic- 
ture, — finished as far as its canvas admits, but, as 1 
apprehend, not taking in the wliolc of the nature and 
complexity of the disorders of this military democ- 
racy, which, the minis or at war truly and wisely 
observes, wliorevcr it exists, must be the true con- 
stitution of the state, by whatever formal appellation 
it may pass. For, though he informs tlie Assembly 
that the more considerable part of the army have 
not cast off their obedience, but are still attached to 
their duty, yet those travellers who liave seen the 
corps whose conduct is the best rather observe in 





them the absence of mutiny than the existxjnce of 


I cannot help pausing here for a moment, to r. ect 
upon the expressions of surprise whicli this minister 
has let fall relative to the excesses he relates. To 
hun the departure of the troops from their ancient 
principles of loyalty and honor seems quite incon- 
ceivable. Surely those to whom he addresses Imui- 
self know the causes of it but too well. They know 
the doctrines which they have preached, the decrees 
which thoy have passed, the practices which they 
have countenanced. The soldiers remember the sixtli 
of October. Tlioy recollect the French guards. 1 hey 
have not forgot the taking of the king's castles in 
Paris and at Marseilles. That the governors m both 
places were murdered witli impunity is a fact that 
has not passed out of their minds. They do not 
abandon the principles, laid down so ostentatiously 
and laboriously, of the equality of men. They can- 
not shut their eyes to the degradation of the whole 
noblesse of France, and the suppression of the very 
idea of a gentleman. The total abolition of itles 
and distinctions is not lost upon them. Bu M. du 
Pin is astonished at their disloyalty, wlicn the doc- 
tors of the Assembly have taught them at the same 
time the respect due to laws. It is easy to judge 
^vl,ich of the two sorts of lessons men with arms in 
their hands are likely to learn. As to the authority 
of the king, we may collect from the minister him- 
self (if any argument on that head were not quite 
superfluous) that it is not of more coimderation with 
these troops than it is with everybody else. The 
kin<r," says he, "has over and over agam repeated 
his "orders to put a stop to these excesses ; but m so 






' SI 






terrible a crisis, your [the Assembly's] concurrence is 
become indispensably necessary to prevent llio evils 
which menace the state. You unite to the force of 
the legislative power that of opinion^ still more impor- 
tant." To be sure, the army can have no opinion of 
the power or authority of tlie king. Perhaps the sol- 
dier has by this time learned, that tlie Assembly itself 
dous not oujoy a much greater degree of liberty thaa 
that royal ligure. 

It is now to be seen what has been proposed in this 
exigency, one of the greatest that can liappen in a 
state. The minister requests tlie Assembly to array 
itself m all its terrors, and to call fortli all its majes- 
ty. He desires that the grave and severe principles 
announced by them may give vigor to the king's 
proclamation. After tliis we should have looked for 
courts civil and martial, breaking of soine corps, 
decimating of others, and all the terrible means 
whicii necessity has employed in such cases to ar- 
rest the progress of the most terrible of all evils; 
particularly, one miglit expect that a serious inquiry 
would be made into the murder of commandants in 
the view of their soldiers. Not one word of all this, 
or of anything like it. After they had been told that 
the soluiorv trampled upon the decrees of the Assem- 
bly promulgated by the king, the Assembly pass new 
decrees, and they authorize the king to make new 
proclamations. After the secretary at war had stat- 
ed that the regiments had paid no regard to oaths, 
pretea aveo la plus imposante tolennitS^ they pro]jose 
— what? More oaths. They renew decrees and 
proclamations as they experience their insufficiency, 
and tlioy multiply oaths in proportion as they weaken 
in the minds of men the sanctions of religion. I hope 



nEvoLunoN in fhancb. 


tliat haiidy ubridjrraciits of the excellent soriuons 
of Voltaire, D'Alembcrt, Diderot, and Uelv^tiii^,. ou 
the Immortality of the Soul, on a Particular Sui^n- 
intendiug Providence, aud on a Future State of lie- 
wards and Puuishments, are sent down to the >^oldierh 
along with their civic oaths. O" this I liave no doultt; 
as I understand that a certain df ' ;ption of reading 
makes no inconsiderable part of thoif military exer- 
cises, aud that they are full as will suppliod with the 
ammunition of pamphlets as of ea tridgos. 

To prevent the mischiefs arising from conspira- 
Jes, irregular consultations, seditious committees, 
aud monstrous democratic assemblies [comitia, co- 
rnices] of the soldiers, and all the disorders arising 
from idleness, luxury, dissipation, and insubordina- 
tion, I believe the most astonishing means have boeu 
used that ever occurred to men, even in all the inven- 
tions of this prolific age. It is no less than this : — 
The king has promulgated in circular letters to all 
the regiments his direct authority and encourage- 
ment, that the several corps should join themselves 
with the clubs and confederations in ihe several mu- 
nicipalities, and mix with them in their feasts and 
civic entertainments ! This jolly discipline, u seems, 
is to soften the ferocity of their minds, to reconcile 
them to their bottle companions of other dt-^crip- 
tions, and to merge particular conspiracies in more 
general associations.* That this remedy would bo 
pleasing to the soldiers, as they are described by M. 
do La Tour du Pin, I can readily believe, — and that, 

• " Comme sa Mujcste y a rcconnu, non un systenic d'associations 
particuliferes, maia unc reunion de volonte's de tous les Frunijois pour 
la liberte et la prospc'rite toiuiuuiics, ainsi pour Ic inaiiiticn de I'ordre 
publique, il a pens^ qu'il convcnoit que chaque regiment prit part i 




t = 









I -i 

however mutinous otherwise, they will dutifully sub- 
mit themselves to iheie royal proclamations. But I 
should question whether all this civic swearing, club- 
bing, and feasting would dispose them, more than at 
present they arc disposed, to an obedience to their 
officers, 01 teach them better to submit to the aus- 
tere rules of military discipline. It will make them 
admirable citizens after the French mode, but not 
quite so good soldiers after any mode. A doubt 
might well arise, whether the conversations at these 
good tables would fit them a great deal the better for 
the character of mere imtrumenU, which this veteran 
officer and statesman justly observes the nature of 
things always requires au army to be. 

Concerning the likelihood of this improvement in 
discipline by the free conversation of the soldiers with 
the municipal festive societies, which is thus officially 
encouraged by royal authority and sanction, we may 
judge by the state of the muuicipalitios themselves, 
furnished to us by the war minister in this very speech. 
He conceives good hopes of tlie success of his endeav- 
ors towards restoring order for the present from the 
good disposition of certain regiments; but he finds 
sometliing cloudy with regard to the future. As to 
preventing the return of confusion, " for this the ad- 
ministration " (suys lie) " cannot be answerable to 
you, as long as they see the municipalities arrogate 
to themselves an authority over the troops which your 
institutions have reserved wholly to the monarch. 
You have fixed the limits of the military authority 

ces iStes civiques pou. multiplier Ics rapports, et resserrer les lienj 
d'union entre les citoycns et les tioupes." — Lest I should not be cred- 
ited, I insert the words authoriziag the troops to least with the pop- 
ular confederacies. 




and the muuicipal authority. You have ^ouud^ f/ 
^tiou which you have permitted ^^/^\^^^' 2% 
the former to the right of requisitiou; but never 

Z S Tetter or the spirit of yo- /-^^ jf ,t; 
Tthe commous iu those muuicipahties to break the 
rLt:, t: try them, to give orders 1. ^^^X 
drive them from the posts committed to «^« f S 
to stouUiem in their marches ordered by tht kiu^, 
Ir u a Xd, to enslave the troops to the capnce 
S'each 0?:;^ cities or even marko.towns through 

,,1 ^ol y which is to reclaim the soldiery, to bnug 
£ rti to the true principles of ^-^^^^^ 
diuation, and to -der /hem ^^-s m o Ws 
of the supreme power of he c^'^'^^ry 
distempers of the F-d. troops! S-h is^l^r c^^^^^^ 

^^ '^:2Xs ofte,aad the seamen 
:;C turn supersede the orders of the municipah- 
t^FoT my heart I pity the condition of a r - 

Livi^ ^"r '. . ^ o ti.pcp iuveuue politicians. 

offiTv Tears' woat aud tear amongst maukmd. 
T™ X -.. as ou6..t to be expected from 







I til 





men, or to any persons who value themselves upon 
their experience. I suppose all the ministers of state 
must qualify, and take this test, — wholly abjuring the 
errors and lieresies of experience and observation. 
Every man hsi his own relish; but I think, if I 
could not attain to the wisdom, I would at least pre- 
serve something of the stiff and peremptory dignity 
of age. These gentlemen deal in regeneration : but 
at any price I should hardly yield my rigid fibres to 
be regenerated by them, — nor begin, in my grand 
climacteric, to squall in their new accents, or to 
stammer, in my second cradle, the elemental sounds 
of their barbarous metaphysics.* Si uti mihi largi- 
antur ut repuerascam, et in eorum cunia vapiam, valde 
recusem ! 

The imbecility of any part of the puerile and pe- 
dantic system which they call a Constitution cannot 
be laid open without discovering the utter insuffi- 
ciency and mischief of every other part with which 
it comes in contact, or that bears any the remotest re- 
lation to it. You cannot propose a remedy for the 
incompetence of tlie crown, without displaying the 
debility ot th.^ Assembly. You cannot deliberate on 
the confueion of the arujy of the state, without dis- 
closing the worse disorders of the armed munici- 
palities. The military lays open the civil, and the 
civil betrays the milif anarchy. I wish everybody 
carefully to peruse tho eloquent speecli (such it is) 
of Mens, do La Tour du Pin. He attributes the sal- 
vation of the municipalities to the good behavior of 
some of the troops. Those troops arc to preserve 
the well-disposed part of the municipalities, which is 

• This war minister ba« since quitted the school and resigned his 

* ll 




confessed to be the weakest, from the pillage of the 
worst disposed, which is the strongest. But the mu- 
nicipalitics affect a sovereignty, and will command 
those troops which are necessary for their protec- 
tion. Indeed, they must command them or court 
them. The municipalities, b/ the necessity of their 
situation, and by the republican powers they have 
obtained, must, with relation to the military, be the 
masters, or the servants, or the confederates, or each 
successively, or they must make a jumble of all to- 
gether, according to circumstances. What govern- 
ment is there to coerce the army but the municipal- 
ity, or the municipality but the army ? To preserve 
concord where authority is extinguished, at the haz- 
ard of all consequences, the Assembly attempts to cure 
the distempers by the distempers themselves ; and they 
hope to preserve themselves from a purely military 
democracy by giving it a debauched interest in the 


If the soldiers once come to mix for any time m 
the municipal clubs, cabals, and confederacies, an 
elective attraction will draw them to the lowest and 
most desperate part. With them will be their hab- 
its, affections, and sympathies. Tlio military conspira- 
cies which are to be remedied by civic confederacies, 
the rebellious municipalities which are to be rendered 
obedient by furnisliing them witli the means of seduc- 
ing the very armies of the state that are to keep then. 
in order, — all these chimeras of a monstrous and 
portentous policy must aggravate the confusion from 
which they have arisen. There must be blood. Ihe 
want of common judgment manifested in the con- 
struction of all their descriptions of forces, and in 
aU their kinds of civil aiid judicial authorities, will 







make it flow. Disorders may be quieted iu one time 
and in one part. They will break out in others ; be- 
cause the evil is radical and intrinsic. All these 
schemes of mixing mutinous soldiers with seditious 
citizens must weaken still more and more the milita- 
ry connection of soldiers with their officers, as well as 
add military and mutinous audacity to turbulent ar- 
tificers and peasants. To secure a real army, the offi- 
cer should be first and last in the eye of the soldier, — 
first and last in his attention, observance, and esteem. 
Officers, it ^aems, there are to be, whose cliief quali- 
fication must be temper and patience. They are to 
manage their troops by electioneering arts. They 
must bear themselves as candidates, not as command- 
ers. But as by such means power may be occasion- 
ally in their hands, the authority by which they are 
to be nominated becomes of high importance. 

What you may do finally does not appear : nor is 
it of much moment, whilst the strange and contradic- 
tory relation between your army and all the parts of 
your republic, as well as the puzzled relation of those 
parts to each other and to the whole, remain as they 
are. You seem to have given the provisional nomi- 
nation of the officers, in the first instance, to the king, 
with a reserve of approbation by tlie National Assem- 
bly. Men who have an interest to pursue are ex- 
tremely sagacious in discovering the true seat of 
power. They must soon perceive that tliose who 
can negative indefinitely in reality aj)poiiit. The 
officers must therefore look to their intrigues in the 
Assembly as the solo certain road to promotion. 
Still, however, by your now Constitution, they must 
begin their solicitation at court. This double nego- 
tiation for military rank seems to me a contrivance, 



as weU adapted as if it were studied for no other 
end, to promote faction in the Assembly itself relative 
to this vast military patronage, - and then to poison 
the corps of officei-s with factions of a nature still 
more dangerous to the safety of government, upon 
any bottom on which it can be placed, and des rue- 
tive m the end to the efficacy of the army itself 
Those officers who lose the promotions intended 
for them by the crown must become of a faction 
opposite to that of the Assembly which has rejected 
their claims, and must nourish discontents in the 
heart of the army agahist the ruling powers. Ihose 
officers, on the other hand, who, by carrying their 
point through an interest in the .issembly, feel t liem- 
eelves to be at best only second in the good-will of 
the crown, thougli first in that of the Assembly, must 
slight an authority which would not advance and 
could not retard their promotion. If, to avoid these 
evils you will have no other rule for command or 
promotion than seniority, you will have an army of 
formality ; at the same time it will become more mdo 
pendent and more of a military republic. Not they, 
but the king is the machine. A king is not to be 
deposed by halves. If he is not everything m e 
command of an army, he is nothing. What is e 
effect of a power placed nominally at the head of the 
amiy, who'to that'army i. no object of gratitude or 
of L- ? Such a ciplicr Is not fit for the administra- 
tion of an object of all things the most delicate, the 
supreme command of military men. They must be 
constrained (and their inclinations lead them to wliat 
their necessities require) by a real, vigorous, effec- 
tive, decided, personal authority. The authority of 
the Assembly itself suffers by passing through such a 










H . 1 

debilitating channel as they have chosen. The army 
will not long look to an Assembly acting through the 
organ of false show and palpable imposition. They 
will not seriously yield obedience to a prisoner. They 
will either despise a pageant, or they will pity a cap- 
tive king. This relation of your army to the crown 
will, if I am not greatly mistaken, become a serious 
dilemma in your politics. 

It is besides to be considered, whether an Assembly 
like yours, even supposing that it was in possession 
of another sort of organ through which its orders 
were to pass, is fit for promoting the obedience and 
discipline of an army. It is known that armies have 
hitherto yielded a very precarious and uncertain o^^e- 
dienco to any senate or popular authority ; and they 
will least of all yield it to an Assembly which is to 
have only a continuance of two years. The ofRcors 
must totally lose tlie characteristic disposition of mil- 
itary men, if they see with perfect submission and 
due admiration the dominion of pleaders, — especial- 
ly when they find that they have a new court to \my 
to an endless succession of those pleaders, whose mil- 
itary policy, and the genius of whose command, (if 
tliey should have any,) must be as uncertain as their 
duration is transient. In the weakness of one khid 
of authority, and in the fluctuation of all, the officers 
of an army will remain for some time mutinous and 
full of faction, until some popular general, who un- 
derstands the art of conciliating tlie soldiery, and who 
possesses the true spirit of command, shall draw the 
eyes of all men upon himself. Armies will obey iiim 
on his personal account. There is no other way of 
securing military obedience in this state of things. 
But the moment in which that event shall happen, 








the person who really commauds the army is your 
master,-the master (that is little) of your kmg the 
master of your Assembly, the master of your whole 

'' How'came the Assembly by their present power 
over the army? Chiefly, to be sure, by debauchmg 
the soldiers from their officers. They have be^n 
by a most terrible operation. They have touched the 
central point about which the particles that compose 
armies a'^e at repose. They have destroyed the pru. 
ciple of obedience in the great, essential, critical 1 ink 
between the officer and the soldier, just where the 
chain of military ^"bordination commences and ou 
>vhich the whole of that system depends. The .oldier 
s told he is a citizen, and has the righ s of ma.i and 
citizen. The right of a man, he is told, is, to be his 
own g vernor, and to be ruled only by those to .-liom 
hldelegates that self-government. It is very natu al 
c should think that he ought most of all to have us 
choice where he is to yield the greatest degree of obe- 
d^nce. He will therefore, in all probability, systo- 
matically do what he does at present occasionally : 
TatTs he will exercise at least a negative m the 
tU'of his officers. At present the officers a. 
known at best to be only permissive, and on their 
g'd behavior. In fact, there ^-ve been many m- 
Lnees in which they have been c-f ^^ed by the r 
corps. Here is a second negative on the choice of the 
3. a negative as effectual, at least, as the other 
of the Assembly. The soldiers know already that it 
:i eef a queLn, not ill received in the NaUona 
Assembly, whether they ought not to have the^t 
choice of their officers, or some proportion of them. 
When such matters are in deliberation, it is no ex- 






travagant supposition that they will incline to the opin- 
ion most favorable to their pretensions. They will not 
bear to be deemed the army of an imprisoned king, 
whilst another army in the same country, with whom 
too they are to feast and confederate, is to be consid- 
ered as the free army of a free Constitution. They 
will cast their eyes on the other and more permanent 
array; I mean the municipal. That corps, they well 
know, does actually elect its own officers. They may 
not l)e able to discern the grounds of distinction on 
which they are not to elect a Marquis de la Fay- 
ette (or what is his new name ?) of their own. If 
this election of a commander-in-chief be a part of the 
rights of men, why not of theirs ? Tliey see elective 
justices of peace, elective judges, elective curates, 
elective bishops, elective municipalities, and elective 
commanders of the Parisian army. Why should 
they alone be excluded? Are the bravo troops of 
France the only men in that nation who are not the 
fit judges of military merit, and of the qualifications 
necessary for a commander-in-chief ? Are they paid 
by the state, and do they therefore lose the rights of 
men? They are a part of that nation themselves, 
and contribute ' j tliat pij. And is not the king, is 
not the National Assembly, snd are not all who elect 
the National Assembly, likewise paid? Instead of 
seeing all these forfeit their rights by their receiving 
u salary, they perceive that in all these cases a salary 
is given for the exercise of those rights. All your 
resolutions, all your proceedings, all your debates, all 
the works of your doctors in religion and politics, 
havb industriously been put i to their hands; and 
you exp(5(;t that tli'^y will apply to their own case 
just as much of your doctrines anfl examples as suits 
your pleasure. 



Eyerything depends upon the army in such a gov- 
ernment as yours ; for you have industriously de- 
stroyed all the opinions and prejudices, and, as tar as 
in you lay, all the instincts which support government. 
Therefore the moment any difference arises between 
your National Assembly and any part of the nation, 
you must have recourse to force. Nothing else is left 
to you, -or rather, vou have loft nothing else to your- 
selves. You see, by the report of your war minister, 
that the distribution of the army is in a great meas- 
ure made with a view of internal coercion.* You 
must rule by an army ; and you have uifused into 
that army by which you rule, as well as into the 
who', body of the nation, principles which after a 
time must disnblo you in the use you resolve to make 
of it The king is to call out troops to act against 
his people, v.l,on the world has been told, and the as- 
sertion is stiU ringing in our ears, that troops ought 
not to fire on citizens. The colonies assert to them- 
selves an independent constitution and a free trade. 
They must be constrained by troops. In what chap- 
ter of your code of the rights of men are they ab e 
to road that it is a part of the rights of men to 
have their commerce monopolized and restrained for 
the benefit of others ? \s the colonists rise on you, 
the negroes rise on them. Troops again -massacre 
torture, handng! Tliese are your rights of men. 
These are the fruits of motaphysic declarations wan- 
tonly made and shamefully retracted! It was but 
the other dav that the farmers of land in one of your 
provinces refused to pay some sorts of rents to the lord 
of the soil. In consequence of this, you decree that 

. Coarrier Francois. 30 July, 1790. Asscmbl^e Nationale. Nn 
mero 810. 










the country-people shall pay all rents aud dues, e»- 
cept those which as grievances you have abolished ; 
aud if they refuse, then you order the king to march 
troops against them. You lay down metaphysic 
propositions which infer universal consequences, and 
then you attempt to limit logic by despotism. The 
leaders of the present system tell them of their riglits, 
as men, to take fortresses, to murder guards, to seize 
on kings without the least appearance of authority 
oven from the Assembly, whilst, as the sovereign le- 
gislative body, that Assembly was sitting in tlie name 
of the nation; and yet these leaders presume to or- 
der out the troops which have acted in these very 
disorders, to coerce those who shall judge on the 
principles and follow the examples wliich have been 
guarantied by their own approbation. 

The leaders teach the people to abhor and reject 
all feodality as the barbarism of tyranny; and they 
tell them afterwards how much of tliat barbarous tyr- 
anny they are to bear with patience. As they are 
prodigal of light with regard to grievances, so tlie 
people find them sparing in the extreme with regard 
to redress. Tliey know that not only certain quit- 
rents and personal duties, wliich you have permitted 
thorn to redeem, (but have furnished no money for 
the redemption.) are as nothing to those burdens for 
which you have made no provision at all ; they know 
that i'lmost tin- whole system of landed property in 
its origin is feudal, — that it is the distribution of 
the possessions of tlie original proprietors made by a 
l)nrl)arous conqueror to liis barbarous instruments, — 
and that the most grievous effects of the conquest are 
the land-rents of every kind, as without question 
they are. 



The peasants, in all probability, are the descend- 
ants of these ancient proprietors, Romans or (Jauls. 
But if they fail, in any degree, in the titles which 
they make on the principles of antiquaries and law- 
yers, they retreat into the citadel of the rights of 
men. There they find that men are equal ; and the 
earth, the kind and equal mother of nil, ought not to 
oe monopolized to luster the pride and luxury of any 
men, who by nature are no better than themselves^, 
and who, if they do not labor for their bread, are 
worse. They find, that, by 'he laws of Nature, the 
occupant and subuuer of the soil is the true proprie- 
tor, — tliat there is no prescription against Nature, - 
and that the agreements (where any there are) which 
liave been made with the landlords during the time 
of slavery are only the effect of d'-;>-esso and force,— 
and that, when the people reentered into the rights 
of men, those agreonicuts were made as void as 
everything else which had been settled under the 
prevalence of the old feudal and aristocratic tyranny. 
They will tell you that they see no difference between 
an idler with a hat and a national cockade and an 
idler in a cowl or in a rochet. If you ground tlic 
title to rents on succession and prescription, they tell 
you from the speech of M. Camus, published by the 
National Assembly for their infoiniation, that things 
ill bej:"ii cannot avail thcmKlves of prescription,— 
t^ i t'^ie title of these lords was vicious m its origin,— 
8u.i mat force is f.t least as bad as frcud. As to the 
title by succession, ihoy will tell you that the succes- 
sion of those who have cultivated the soil is the true 
pedigree of property, and not rotten parchments and 
s^Uy .substitutions, — that the lords have enjoyed their 
usurpation too long, — and that, if they allow to these 

VOL. 111. 3* 



V I- 


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165i Eojl Moin SIrMi 

Rochester. New \ork 14609 USA 

(716) ♦82 -0300 -Phone 

(716) 288 - 5989 - Fo« 



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lay monks any charitable pension, tlicy ought to be 
thankful to the bounty of the true proprietor, who is 
so generous towards a false claimant to his goods. 

When the peasants give you aack that coin of so- 
phistic reason on which you have set your image and 
superscription, you cry it down as base money, and 
tell them you will pay for the future with French 
guards and dragoons and hussars. You hold up, to 
chastise them, the second-hand authority of a king, 
who is only the instrument of destroying, without 
any power of protecting either the people or his own 
person. Through him, it seems, you will make your- 
selves obeyed. They answer, — " You have taught us 
that there are no gentlemen ; and which of youi princi- 
ples teach us to bow to kings whom we have not elect- 
ed ? We know, without your teaching, that lands were 
given for the support of feudal dignities, feudal titles, 
and feudal offices. When you took down the cause as 
a grievance, why should the more grievous effect re- 
main ? As there are now no hereditary honors and 
no distinguished families, why are we taxed to main- 
tain what you tell us ought not to exist? You have 
sent down our old aristocratic landlords in no other 
character and with no other title but that of exactors 
under your authority. Have you endeavored to make 
these your rent-gathei ers respectable to us ? No. You 
have sent them to us with their arms reversed, their 
shields broken, their impresses defaced, — and so dis- 
plumed, degraded, and metamorphosed, such unfeath- 
ered two-legged things, that we no longer know tliem. 
They are strangers to us. They do not even go by 
the names of our ancient lords. Physically they may 
be the same men, — though we are not quite sure of 
that, ou your new pliilosophic doctrines of personal 



i '. 

■ •',! 


i '■ 




identity. In all other respects they arc totally 
changed. We do not see why we have not as good a 
right°to refuse them their rents as you have to ab- 
rogate all their honors, titles, and distinctions. This 
we have never commissioned you to do ; and it is 
one instance among many, indeed, of your assumj^ 
tion of undelegated power. We see the burglio ot 
Paris, through their clubs, their mobs, and their nu. 
tional guards, directing you at their pleasure, and 
Kiving that as law to you, which, under your author- 
ity, is transmitted as law to us. Throurjh you, taese 
burghers dispose of the lives and fortunes of us all. 
Why should not you attend as much to the desires 
of the laborious husbandman with regard to our rent, 
by which we are affected in the most serious manner, 
as you do to the demands of these insolent burghers 
relative to distinctions and titles of honor, by which 
neither they nor we are affected at all ? But we find 
you pay more regard to their fancies than to our ne- 
cessities. Is it among the rights of man to pay trib- 
ute to his equals ? Before this measure of yours we 
might have thought we were not perfectly equal ; we 
mi-ht have entertained some old, habitual, unmean- 
ing prepossession in favor of those landlords ; but 
we cannot conceive with what other view than that 
of destroying all respect to them you could have 
made the law that degrades them. You have for- 
bidden us to treat them with any of the old formali- 
ties of respect ; and now you send troops to sabre and 
to bayonet us into a submission to fear and force 
which you did not suffer us to yield to the mild au- 
thority of opinion." , . t -a 
The ground of some of these arguments is horrid 
and ridiculous to all rational ears; but to the politi- 







cians of metaphysics, who have opened schools for 
sophistry, and made establishments for anarchy, it is 
solid and conclusive. It is obvious, tint, on a mero 
consideration of the right, the leaders in the Asm'ui- 
bly would not in the least have scrupled to abrogate 
the rents along with the titles and family ensigns. 
It would be only to follow up the principle of tlieir 
reasonings, and to complete the analogy of their con- 
duct. But they had newly possessed themselves of a 
great body of landed property by confiscation. Tliey 
had this commodity at market ; and the market would 
have been wholly destroyed, if they were to permit 
the husbandmen to riot in the speculations with 
which they so freely intoxicated themselves. The 
only security which property enjoys in any one of its 
descriptions is from the interests of their rapacity 
with regard to some other. Tliey have left nothing 
but their own arbitrary jileasure to determine what 
property is to be protected and what subverted. 

Neither have they left any principle by which any of 
their municipalities can be bound to obedience, — or 
even conscientiously obliged not to separate from tlie 
whole, to become independent, or to connect itself with 
some other state. The people of Lyons, it seems, have 
refused lately to pay taxes. Why should they not ? 
What lawful authority is there left to exnct them? 
Tiie king imposed some of them. The old States, 
metiiodized by orders, settled the more ancient. 
They may say to the Assembly, — "Who are you, 
that are not our kings, nor tlie States we have elected, 
nor sit on the principles on which we have elected 
you ? And who are we, that, when we see the gor 
belles which you have ordered to bo paid wholly 
shaken off, when we see the act of disol)edienco after- 

I 5 



wds ratified by yourselves, who are we that we ar. 
not to iudge what taxes wo ought or ought not to 
:' ani are not to avail ourselves of the same pow- 
ers the validity of whieh you have approved in oth- 
ers ^ " To this the answer is, " We will send troops. 
The last reason of kings is always the hrst with your 
Assembly. This miUlary aid may servo for a time, 
wMst tl^e impression of the Increase of pay remands 
Ind the vanity of l)eing umpires in all disputes is fla- 
tbed But this weapon will snap short, unfaithful 
to the hand that employs it. The Assembly keep a 
^I'X where, system..cally, and with unreimUin^ 

perseverance, they teach principles and tonn cgu a 
tions destructive to all spirit of subordination, civ 
and inUitary,-and then they expect that they shall 
ho?d "obedience au anarchic people by an anarchic 

''tL municipal army, which, according to their 
new policy, is to balance this national army, if con- 
Srediif 'itself only, is of a constitution much more 
simple, and in every respect less ex.optionab 
is a mere democratic body, unconnected with the 
crowiror the kingdom, armed and trained and oih- 
ccreTat the pleasure of the districts to which th 
corps severally belong; and the personal service of 
Z nd V du is who compose, or the fine u^ Ueu of 
^W service, are directed l.tbc^.e—^ 
Nothino- is more uniform. It, lio\\t\..r, cu i 
fna^ relation to the crown, to the National Assem- 

• T ««,bv M Neckcr's account, that the niitional guards of Tana 

l„t U..00O,. .erUn« out of the V^^l^^^^ T..- 
an actual payment for the n,ne month of - - ^ .^ ^, „, 

„.e of the. >-'^^S;tW -;^^'-- ^'^^ P'^-«- 
great importance, as certainly int-y mujr 


' '. 

: i 









bly, to the public tribunals, or to the other army, or 
considered in a view to any coherence or connection 
bo ween its parts, it seems a monster, and can hardly 
fail to terminate its perplexed movements in some 
great national calamity. It is a worse preservative 
of a general constitution than the systasis of Crete, 
or the confederation of Poland, or any other ill-de- 
vised corrective which has yet been imagined, in the 
necessities produced by an ill-constructed system of 

Having concluded my few remarks on the constitu- 
tion of the supreme power, the executive, the judica- 
ture, the military, and on the reciprocal relation of 
all these establishments, I shall say something of tlio 
ability showed by your legislators with rCoard to the 

In their proceedings relative to this object, if possi- 
ble, still fewer traces appear of political judgment or 
financial resource. Wnen the States met, it seemed 
to be the great object to improve the system of rev- 
enue, to enlarge its collection, to cleanse it of oppres- 
sion and vexation, and to establish it on the most sol- 
: ' footing. Great were the expectations entertained 
on tliat liead throii'-liout Europe. It was by this 
grand arrangement tliut France was to stand or fall ; 
and this became, in my opinion very properly, the 
test by which the skill and patriotism of those who 
ruled in that Assembly would be tried. The revenue 
of the state is the state. In effect, all depends upon 
it, whether for support or for reformation. The dig- 
nity of ev^ry occupation wholly depends upon the 
quantity and the kind of virtue tliat may be exerted 
in it. As all great qualities of the mind which op- 





erate in piiblic, auJ are not merely suffenng and pas- 
!ve require force for tl.eir display, 1 had almost sa.d 
f^r Iheir unequivoeal existence, the revenue, winch is 
the spring of all power, becomes in its admuustration 
h s'pU of every active virtue, ^^t^^ 
i„g of a nature magnificent and splend d, in titut- 
ed for great things, and conversant about great con- 
cerns, requires abundant scope and room and cannot 
spread and grow under confinement, and in circum- 
Ces straUened, narrow, and sordid mough U. 
revenue alone the body politic can act in its t ue ge 
nius and character; and therefore it will d-PW -t 
as much of its collective virtue, and as much of that 
vrl which may characterize those who move it 
Ind are, as it were, its life and guiding pnncu.le, a 
U is pos essed of a just revenue. For hence not 
o„W ml' lanimity and liberality, and beneficence. 
I'fSude, ai/d providence, and l^- tutel^^^^^^ 
tection of all good arts derive their food, a^id the 
growth of their orgais, but continence, an^ self 
Lnial and labor, and vigilance, and frugality, and 
ohnvo the apcetite, are nowhere more m then proper 
eleren tZ a the provision and distribution of the 
pSic wealth. It is therefore not without reason 
Ta the science of speculative and practical finance, 
which m^ take to its aid so many auxiliary branches 
r knowledge, stands high in the estimaf.o. nut only 
o timina y sort, but of the wisest anu best men ; 
aid as thi science has grown with the progress of its 
ob'ect the prosperity and improvement of nation 
has oenerally increased with the increase of their 
ovem s; a,Id they will both continue to grow and 
flou ish L long as uie balance between what is left 




1 1 



'-. » 



to Strengthen tho efforts of individuals and what is 
collected for the common efforts of tho state bear to 
each other a duo reciprocal proportion, and are kept 
in a close correspondence and communication. And 
perhaps it may be owing to tho greatness of reve- 
nues, and to the urgency of state necessities, that old 
abuses in the constitution of finances are discover- 
ed, and their true nature and rational theory comes 
to be more perfectly understood; insomucli that a 
smaller revenue might have been nore distressing 
in one period than a far greater is found to be in 
another, tho proportionate wealth even remaining the 
same. In this state of things, the Frencii Assembly 
found something in their revenues to preserve, to 
secure, and wisely to administer, as well as to ab- 
rogate and alter. Though their proud assumption 
might justify the severest tests, yet, in trying their 
abilities on tneir financial proceedings, I would only 
consider what is the plain, obvious duty of a cummon 
finance minister, and try them upon that, and not 
upon models of ideal perfection. 

Tlie objects of a financier are, then, to secure an 
ample revenue; to impose it with judgment and 
equality; to employ it economically; and when ne- 
cessit}/ obliges him to make use of credit, to secure 
its foundations in that instaiico, and forever, by the 
clearness and candor of his proceedings, the exact- 
ness of his calculations, and tlio solidity of his funds. 
On tliese heads we may take a sliort and distinct view 
of tlie merits and aljilities of tiiose in the Xational 
Assembly who have taken to tliemselves the roan- 
agement of this arduous concern. 

Far from any increase of revenue in their hands, 
I find, by a report of M. Vernier, from the Committee 

i ii 



of Finances of the second of Au^pist last, that tha 
funount of the national revenue, as compared with 
its produce before the Revolution, was dinunished by 
the sum of two hundred miUions, or eujht milhom 
sterling, of the annual income, -considcraldy more 
than one third of the whole. 

If this be the result of great ability, never surely 
was ability displayed in a more distinguished man- 
ner or with so powerful an elTect. No folly, 
no vulgar incapacity, no ordinary official negligence, 
even no official -o corruption, no peculation, 

hardly any dire , ^vl>i^ll we have seen m tho 

modern world, o short a time have made so 

complete an ov. oi th. ", nances, and with them, 

of the strength of a great . .ngdom. - C.Ja qm ves- 
tram rcmpnblicam tantam anmidls tain cito ? 

The soi.histers and declairners, as soon as the As- 
sembly met, began with decrying the ancient consti- 
tution of the revenue in many of its most esse.itial 
branches, such as the public monopoly of salt, iney 
charged it, as truly as unwisely, with being ill-cou- 
trived, oppressive, and partial. This representation 
they were not satisfied to make nse of in speeches 
preliminary to some plan of reform; they declared 
it in a solemn resolution or public sentence, as it 
were judicially passed upon it; and this they dis- 
T,ersed tliroughout the nation. At the tune they 
passed the decree, with the same gravity they or- 
dered the same absurd, oppressive, and partial tax to 
be paid, until they could iind a reveime to replace 
it The consequence was inevitable. Ihe pr-n-mccs 
winch had been always exempted from this salt mo- 
nopoly, some of whom were charged with otlier con- 
tributbns, perhaps equiva" -it, were totally disin- 

.. !i' 







cliued to boar any part of the burd' •>, which by an 
equal distribution was to redeem the others. As to 
the Assembly, occupied as it was with the declaration 
and violation of the rights of men, and with their 
arrangements for general confusion, it had neither 
leisure nor capacity to contrive, nor authority to en- 
force, any plan of any kind relative to the replac- 
ing the tax, or equalizing it, or compensating the 
provinces, or for conducting their minds to any 
scheme of accommodation with the other districts 
which were to be relieved. The people of the salt 
provinces, impatient under taxes damned by the au- 
thority which had directed tlieir paymeiit, very soon 
found their patience exhausted. They thought them- 
selves as skilful in demolishing as the Assembly could 
be. They relieved themselves by throwing off the 
whole burden. Animated by this example, each dis- 
trict, or part of a district, judging of its own griev- 
ance by its own feeling, and of its remedy by its own 
opinion, did as it pleased with other taxes. 

We are next to see how they have conducted them- 
selves in contriving equal impositions, proportioned 
to the means of the citizens, and the least likely to 
lean heavy on the active capital employed in the gen- 
eration of that private wealth from whence the public 
fortune must be derived. By suffering the several dis- 
tricts, and several of tlie individuals in each district, 
to judge of what part of tlie old revenue they might 
withhold, instead of better principles of equality, a 
new inequality was introduced of the most oppres- 
sive kind. Payments were regulated by dispositions. 
The parts of the kingdom which were the most submis- 
sive, the most orderly, or the most affectionate to the 
commonwealth, boie the whole burden of tlio state. 



NothinK turns out to be so opprc.ivo and uujust as a 
foeble govcnuucnt. To fill up all the delk.ouc.os m 
the old impositions, and the new deficiencies ot eve y 
kind whiclVwere to be expected, what remained o 
a state without authority? The National Assembly 
called for a voluntary benevolence, -for a fourth pait 
of tho income of all the citizens, to be estimated on 
the honor of those who were to pay. hey obtained 
.omethir.g more than could be rationally calculaU^d, 
but what was far in-' ^d from answerable to t -^ r 
al necessities, and i. =h less to their fond cxpec- 
tations. Rational people o aid have hoped lor Utile 
fa.m this their tax in the disguise of a benevolence,-- 
a tax weak, ineffective, and unequal,- a tax by which 
hixury, avarice, and selfishness were screened, and 
the load thrown upon productive capital, upon m eg- 
rity, generosity, and public spirit, -a tax of rcg^ila- 
ion upon virtue. At length the mask is hrowii off, 
and tl^y are now trying means (with little success) 
of pxactinc their benevolence by force. 

This benevolence, the rickety offsp ng of weakness, 
was to bo supported by another resource, the twiu 
::th^ of tHrLme proMc imbecility. T. patrio « 
donations were to make good the failure of the patri- 
otic contribution. John Doe was to become security 
t Richard Roe. By this scheme they took things of 
much price from the giver, comparative y of small val- 
l, to the receiver; they ruined several t-des they 
piUaced the crown of its ornaments, the churches of 
Splate, and the people of their personal decora- 
t ons The invention of those juvenile pretenders to 
iberiy was in reality nothing more than a servile imi- 
tat ; I of one of the poorest resources of doting despot- 
s' They took an old. huge, full-bottomed periwig 











\\ it' 





out of tlio wardrc ' i of tho antiquated frippery of 
Louis the Fourteciuii, to cover tlio premature bald- 
uecs of tlio National Ai^senibly. Tlicy produced this 
old-fasliiouod formal folly, though it had been so abun- 
dantly exposed in tho Memoirs of the Duke do Saint- 
Simon, — if to reasonable nion it h;id wanted any ar- 
j?uments to display its mischief and insufficiency. A 
device of tho same kind was tried in my memory 
by Louis the Fifteenth, but it answered at no time. 
However, tho nece^^sities of ruinous wars wore some 
excuse for desperate projects. The deliberations of 
calamity are rarely wise. But hero was a .'reason for 
disposition and providence. It was in a time of pro- 
found peace, then enjoyf.d for five years, and promis- 
ing a much lunger continuance, that they had recourse 
to this desperate trifling. They were sure to lose more 
reputation by sporting, in their serious situa'.ion, with 
these toys and playthings of finance, wh' i.-e filled 
half their journals, than could possibly be compen- 
sated by tlie poor temporary supply which they af- 
forded. It seemed as if those wlio adopted such proj- 
ects were wholly ignorant of their circumstances, or 
wholly unequal to their necessities. Whatever virtue 
may be in these devices, it is obvious that neither the 
patriotic gifts nor the patriotic contribution can ever 
be reported to again. The resources of pul)lic fol- 
ly are soon exhausted. Tho whole, indeed, of their 
scheme of revenue is to make, by any artifice, an 
appearance of a full reservoir for the hour, whilst 
at the same time they cut off the springs and living 
fountains of perennial supjily. Tlie acc()nnt not long 
since furnished by M. Necker was meant, without 
quc-tion, to be favorable. He gives a flattering view 
of the means of getting through the year ; but he ex' 




tic in^toad of entorinj^ into the of tins apprc 

';!«, in order, by a propn- foresight, to vrcvcnt 

ho pr-vlnosticatcl evil. M. N.,..kor roco.vos a .n,-t of 

fdendly reprimand fro.u the President of the As.em- 

^'^ As to their other schemes of taxation, it is impos- 

they hare not yet had their 0P«-^'7 , " '^^ ;'^;;. 
so .ausuine as to imagine they wjU '^^^ / P ^Jf J^ 
cptihlo part of the wide gap.n, breach -^^ 
incapacity has made in tlieir revenues. At pic.cnt 
to So of their treasury sn>ks every day more and 
n^oro in cash, and swells more and more u» f." - 
Z' representation. When .o little w.tlun or w. -^ 
out s now found but paper, the representat.e not of 
opulence, but of want, the creature not o cred.t, but 
of nowe^ they imagine that our flounshu.g state 
t rSd s o,,„g'to that bank-paper, and not the 
; Ly^'U to the flourishing condition of «ur com- 
mercc o the solidity of our credit, and to the tot^al 
cX'i n of all idea of power fron. any part of t e 
traniction. They forgot that in England not one 
Si" of paper money of any descrij.ion .s received 
m of"ehoioo,-th.t the whole has had its ongin u 
but 01 cnoK , . ^^yprtibleat 

cash actually deposited, -and that on 

nlc'^-^urc, in an instant, and withou. , smallest loss, 

£r St r;':rr ■,•;■■ ■;=■:■. 

creditor may refuse all the paper of the l.anK m 
England. Nor is there amongst us a single public 




security, of any quality or nature whatsoever, that ia 
enforced by authority. In fact, it might be easily 
shown that our paper wealth, instead of lessening the 
real coin, has a tendency to increase it, — instead of 
being a substitute for money, it only facilitates its en- 
try, its exit, and its circulation, — that it is the symbol 
of prosperity, and not the badge of distress. Never was 
a scarcity of cash and an exuberance of paper a sub- 
ject of complaint in this nation. 

Well! but a lessening of prodigal expenses, and 
the economy which has been introduced by the virtu- 
ous and sapient A.ssembly, make amends for the losses 
sustained in the receipt of revenue. In this at least 
they have fulfilled the duty of a financier. — Have 
those who say so looked at the expenses of the Na- 
tional Assembly itself? of the municipalities? of the 
city of Paris ? of the increased pay of the two armies ? 
of the new police ? of the new judicatures ? Have 
they even carefully compared the present pension- 
list with tlie former? These politicians have been 
cruel, not economical. Comparing the expenses of 
the former prodigal government and its relation to 
the then revenues with the expenses of this new sys- 
tem as opposed to the state of its new treasury, I be- 
lieve the present will be found beyond all comparison 
more chargeable.* 

It remains only to consider the proofs of financial 

* The reader will obsen-e that I have but lightly touched (my 
plan demanded nothing more) on the condition of the French finan- 
ces as connected with the demands upon them. If I had intended 
to do otherwise, the materials in my hands for snch a task are not 
altogether perfect. On this subject I refer the reader to M. de Ca- 
lonne'g work, and the trcmendons display that he has made of the 
havoc and devastation in the public estate, and in all the affairs of 
France, caused by the presumptnonj good intentions of ignorance and 



ability furnished by the present Prenc xna. ger 
when they are to raise suppUes on credit. Here 1 
Im a Ittle at a stand; for credit, properly speaking, 
they have none. The credit of the ancient govern- 
. nt was not, indeed, the best; but they could ^- 
wavs on some terms, command money, not only at 
home, but from most of the countries of Europe 
tl"; a surplus capital was accumulate^; and^^ 
credit of that government was improving daily, ilio 
TsSishment of a system of liberty would of course 

be supposed to give it new ^t^^^g^Vl^riad b n 
actually have done, if a system of liberty had been 
^tablSied. What offers has their government of 
pret ded li^ had from Holland, from Hamburg 
?rom SwLrland, from Genoa, from England, for a 
deaUngTtheir paper > Why should these nations 
clmerce and economy enter into any pecunia^ 
dealin^rs with a people who attempt to reverse he 
V ry nature of things, - amongst whom they see e 
rifor nrescribing at the point of the bayonet the 
leta o7 t olvency to the creditor, discharging 
"ne This engagements with another, Uirnmg us 
very penury into his resource, and paying his mter- 

^^^IrSaSUdence in «ie omnipotence of 
Church plunder has induced these philosophers to 
ovedook'all care of the public estate, just as the 

incapacity. SucU effects t..ose ^<^;;^^Z^^ r^/h 
over that account with a pretty stnct and w th pe p ^^ 

rigor, deducting everything -l''^; I^Y^^^^Sr; ^ enemies desir- 


was at any time furnished to mankind. 







dream of the philosopher'a stone induces dupes, un- 
der the more plausible delusion of the hermetic art, 
to neglect all rational means of improving tlieir for- 
tunes. With these philosophic financiers, this univer- 
sal medicine made of Church mummy is to cure all 
the evils of the state. These gentlemen perhaps do 
not believe a great deal in the miracles of piety ; but 
it cannot be questioned that they have an undoubt- 
iiig faith in the prodigies of sacrilege. Is there a 
debt whicli presses them? Issue assignats. Are 
compensations to be m«de or a mahitenance decreed 
to those wliom tliey have robbed of their freehold in 
their office or expelled from their profession? Ah- 
signats. Is a fleet to be fitted out ? Assignata. If 
sixteen millions sterling of tliese assignata forced on 
the people leave the wants of tiie state as urgent as 
ever. Issue, says one, thirty millions sterling of as- 
signata, — says another, Issue fourscore millions more 
of assignats. The only difference among their finan- 
cial factions is on the greater or the lesser quantity 
of assignata to be imposed on the public sufierance. 
They are all professors of assignata. Even those 
whose natural good sense and knowledge of com- 
merce, not obliterated by philosophy, furnish decisive 
arguments against this delusion, conclude their argu- 
ments by proposing the emission of aaaignats. I sup- 
pose they must talk of assignats, as no other language 
would be understood. All experience of their iuclK- 
cacy does not in the least discourage them. Are the 
old assignats depreciated at market? What is the 
remedy? Issue new assignats. — 3Iai8 si maladia 
opiniatria non vult ae garire, quid illi facere ? Assig- 
nare ; postea assignare ; ensuita assignare. The word 
is a trifle altered. The Latin of your present doctors 



may be better than that of your old comedy ; their 
wisdom and the variety of their resources are the 
same. They have not more notes in their song than 
the cuckoo ; tliough, far from the softness of that har- 
binger of summer and plenty, their voice is as harsh 
and as ominous as that of the raven. 

Who but the most desperate adventurers in phi- 
losophy and finance could at all have thought of 
destroying the settled revenue of the state, the sole 
security for the public credit, in the hope of rebuild- 
ing it with the materials of confiscated property? 
If, however, an excessive zeal for the state should 
have led a pious and venerable prelate (by anticipa- 
tion a father of the Church *) to pillage his own or- 
der, and, for the good of the Church and people, to 
take upon himself the place of grand financier of con- 
fiscation and comptroller-general of sacrilege, he and 
his coadjutors were, in my opinion, bound to show, 
by their subsequent conduct, that they knew some- 
thing of the office they assumed. When they had 
resolved to appropriate to the fisc a certain portion 
of the landed property of their conquered country, it 
was their business to render their bank a real fund 
of credit, — as far as such a bank was capable of be- 
coming so. 

To establish a current circulating credit upon any 
land-bank, under any circumstances whatsoever, has 
hitherto proved difficult at the very least. The at- 
tempt has commonly ended in bankruptcy. But 
when the Assembly were led, through a contempt of 
moral, to a defiance of economical principles, it might 
at Ifast have been expected that nothing would be 
omitted on their part to lessen this difficulty, to pre- 

* La Bray^re of Bossuet. 
VOL. III. 35 


1 i 


-A -I 







vent any aggravation of this bankruptcy. It might 
be expected, that, to render your land-bank tolera- 
ble, every means would be adopted that could display 
openness and candor in the statement of the securi- 
ty, everything which could aid the recovery of the 
demand. To take things in their most favorable 
point of view, your condition was that of a man of a 
large landed estate which he wished to dispose of for 
the discharge of a debt and the supply of certain ser- 
vices. Not being able instantly to sell, you wished 
to mortgage. What would a man of fair intentions 
and a commonly clear understanding do in such 
circumstances? Ought he not first to ascertain the 
gross value of the estate, the charges of its manage- 
ment and disposition, the incumbrances perpetual and 
temporary of all kinds that affect it, — then, strik- 
ing a net surplus, to calculate the just value of the 
security ? When that surplus (the only security to 
the creditor) had been clearly ascertained, and prop- 
erly vested in the hands of trustees, then he would 
indicate the parcels to be sold, and the time and con- 
ditions of sale ; after this he would admit the public 
creditor, if he chose it, to subscribe his stock into this 
new fund, — or he might receive proposals for an 
assiffnat from those who would advance money to 
purchase this species of security. This would be to 
proceed like men oi business, methodically and ra- 
tionally, and ou the only principles of public and pri- 
vate credit that have an existence. The dealer would 
then know exactly what he purchased ; and the on- 
ly doubt which could hang upon his mind would be 
the dread of the resumption of the spoil, which one 
day might be made (perhaps with an addition of 
punishment) from the sacrilegious gripe of those 

: I 





execrable wretches who could become purchasers at 
the auction of their iuuoceut fellow-citizens. 

An open and exact statement of the clear value of 
the property, and of the time, the circumstances, and 
the place of sale, were all necessary, to eflFace as 
much as possible tlie stigma that has hitherto been 
branded on every kind of land-bank. It became n^ 
cessary on another principle, — that is, on account of 
a pledge of faith previously given on that subject, that 
their future fidelity in a slipp' ry concern miglit be 
established by their adherence to tlieir first ersjage- 
ment. When they had finally determined on a state 
resource from Church booty, they came, on the four- 
teenth of April, 1790, to a solemn resolution on the 
subject, and pledged tliemsclves fi their country, 
"that, in the statement of the public charges for each 
year, there should be brought to account a sum suffi- 
cient for defraying the expenses of the R. C. A. re- 
ligion, the support of the ministers at tlie altars, tne 
relief of the poor, the pensions to the ecclesiastu s, 
secular as well as regular, oi' the one and of the other 
sex, in order that the estates and goods which are at the 
disposal of the nation may be disengaged of all charges, 
and employed by the representatives, or the legislative 
body, to the great and most pressing exigcnaes of the 
state." They furt-..r engaged, on the same day, 
that the sum necessary for the year 1791 sliould be 
forthwith determined. 

In this resolution they admit ii 'Veii duty to show 
distinctly the expense of the above objects, which, by 
other resolutions, they had before engaged should be 
first in the c der of provision. They admit that tuey 
ought to show the estate clear and disengaged of all 
charges, and that they should show it immediately. 



ii K 



Have they done this immediately, or at any time? 
Have they ever furnished a rent-roll of the immov- 
able estate, or given in an inventory of the movable 
effects, which they confiscate to their assignats ? In 
what manner they can fulfil their engagements of 
holding out to public service " an estate disengaged 
of all charges," without authenticating the value of 
the estate or the quantum of the charges, 1 leave it 
to their English admirers to explain. Instantly upon 
this assurance, and previously to any one step towards 
making it good, they issue, on the credit of so hand- 
some a declaration, sixteen millions sterling of their 
paper. This was manly. Who, after this masterly 
stroke, can doubt of their abilities in finance ? — But 
tlien, before any other emission of these financial 
indulgences^ they took care at ^'^ast to make good 
their original promise. — If such estimate, either of 
the value of the estate or the amount of tho incum- 
brances, has been made, it has escaped me. I never 
heard of it. 

At length they have spoken out, and they have 
made a full discovery of their abominable fraud in 
holding out the Church lands as a security for any 
debts or any service whatsoever. They rob only to 
enable them to cheat ; but in a very short time they 
defeat the ends both of the robbery and the fraud, by 
making out accounts for other purposes, which blow 
up their whole apparatus of force and of deception. 
I am obliged to M. do Calonne for his reference to 
the document which proves this extraordinary fact: 
it had by some means escaped me. Indeed, it was 
not necessary to make out my assertion as to tho 
breach of faith on the declaration of the fourteenth of 
April, 1790. By a report of their committee it now 



appears that the charge of keeping up the reduce^ oc. 
istical estabUBhments, and other expense attend- 
ant on religion, and maintaining the rehgious of both 
Is, retafned'or pensioned, and the other concom. 
tant expenses of the same nature, which they have 
brouglU upon themselves by this convulsion m prop- 
erty, exceeds the income o